Newmont Gold’s Leeville mine in Nevada recently identified the opportunity to introduce a range of management tools and processes to the operation on the back of a major upgrade in underground communication infrastructure. After developing a detailed scope and selection in a tender process, it chose the Mine Site Technologies (MST) digital solution, based on the ImPact Wireless Network suite of technologies. The initial stage of the project has been commissioned and provides an extensive wireless network to the underground operation at Leeville and Carlin East. The underground network consists of a total of 88 wireless network devices, which is made up of:48 ImPact Wireless Network Switches (WNS): these are in various configurations to suit specific requirements at particular locations. Configurations include single or twin wireless radio cards, up to four fibre switches and four point of entry outputs, within a single housingThese ImPact WNS units are connected together by MST’s composite fibre/power cable, joining the mine’s network at several key locations to form a number of redundant rings40 ImPact Wireless Access Points: These are connected to nearby ImPact WNS units by industrial CAT5 cable, to provide hotspot extensions in key locations. The initial applications to use this high bandwidth network include:– Personnel tracking, using 400 RFID tags mounted in the ICCL cap lamp– Equipment tracking, using 65 self contained tags for tracking vehicles– VoIP telephony using the installed network– Lap tops are being used at underground locations by being wirelessly connected to the network.The network use plans to be expanded with other applications over time. The first of these will be vehicle intelligence. This will use the Vehicle Intelligence Platform module to collect and upload in real time and load and diagnostic data off a range of underground machines. This in turn will be used to streamline the management of these assets and automate the upload of information into the mine’s management software applications.It is the ability of a well designed underground wireless network to consolidate a lot of communication and data requirements into a single backbone that was the key driver in Newmont investing in the Impact Digital System, according to MST. It feels the engineering design and ease of deployment in the mine environment is what differentiated the ImPact solution from more standard network solutions that are really only practical to use in surface office environments.