Owned by the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC PLC), EEC’s Vostochny mine produces more than 20 million tons of coal annually, relying on a continuous extraction method based on conveyor transport. As one of the largest producers of electricity and coal in Kazakhstan, the company employs approximately 7,000 people and supplies electric power to northeastern Kazakhstan.
As a part of a major modernization program aimed at increasing overall operational cost and production efficiencies, EEC was looking to upgrade to a new dispatch system to expand coal recovery and replace the antiquated radio voice channel system that was in place. EEC partnered with Rodnik SPE Inc. of Russia, to provide the complete turnkey solution for all communications and associated command and control in Kazakhstan’s Vostochny mine. Several potential technologies were evaluated in the early stages, however the final decision was made in favor of using a private network due to its high reliability, availability of service and level of control. The solution selected also needed to offer real-time operational access to support the next phase of the project, which would involve the implementation of a SCADA system using the same technology from a single source. Rodnik and EEC reviewed several solutions and after thorough analysis, selected CalAmp to provide the wireless communications component in an on-board radio navigation and telemetry system for EEC’s mobile mining equipment.
“CalAmp’s robust wireless data technology will provide reliable mobile data connectivity for remote dispatch and control of a variety of mobile assets at the Vostochny mine,” said Sergey Margaryan, VP at Rodnik SPE.
As part of the overall solution, CalAmp’s Paragon 4 base stations, in conjunction with CalAmp’s Gemini G3 mobile radios, have been integrated into the on-board radio navigation system used to dispatch and remotely control mobile open-pit mining equipment, including railway locomotives and trains, dump trucks, excavators, bulldozers and drilling rigs. Designed for high-speed industrial applications, the Paragon/Gemini system provides wide-area coverage and a high level of network security to extended IP and serial networks. The project calls for more than 60 Gemini G3 mobile modems initially and is projected to expand to 300 units in the future, enabling a robust wireless communications network for the dependable in-motion, high-speed mobile data delivery required to monitor and control mobile mining assets over a broad area.
CalAmp’s wireless communications solutions provide an integrated, intelligent control system that supports remote diagnostics, real-time hardware configuration and over-the-air programming, all of which are contributing to improved operating efficiency, increased productivity and cost savings. “The deployment of a private radio network using world class radio modems allowed us to arrange real-time communications with mobile mining equipment and gave us tight control from the dispatcher side,” said Alexander Zaitz, Technical Director at EEC. “It has also helped to save money which was required to operate the fleet of rock haulers and has extended the productivity of locomotives through the implementation of automated dispatch procedures.” With 66 units currently operational, initial results show a three percent increase in throughput for railroad transportation which will allow for 750,000 cubic meters of additional capping moved annually. This translates into around 300,000 tons of coal recovered, resulting in an annual cost savings of about $3M. When all units are implemented and the project is fully operational, Margaryan estimates that the ongoing cost savings will be approximately $30M annually. “This deployment in mining operations is another example of how today’s machine-to-machine wireless communications technology is enabling automated networks that produce measurable and meaningful operating efficiencies. Our platform allows users around the world to keep infrastructure costs in check while simultaneously increasing data speed and system reliability — even in rugged environments such as Kazakhstan’s Vostochny mine,” noted Alex Crane-Robinson, Sr., CalAmp’s Director of International Markets.