Risk-Mitigating Investment in Communications TechnologyMon, 10/21/2013 - 10:36
In August 2010 the Chilean government took on the search for 33 workers trapped inside an underground mine. 17 days after the accident, authorities were able to communicate with the hungry miners through letters sent via a probe lowered more than 700m below ground level. Among the first emergency supplies sent to them through a small borehole were microphones, and cameras, as well as paper and pens, and a fiber optic lane was later installed in the borehole. This example highlights the great importance of telecommunication infrastructure in mining operations where there is no fiber or cell coverage. Perhaps if the famous Chilean miners had been equipped with the advanced communication technologies that are available to mining companies nowadays, they would not have had to survive for 17 days on emergency supplies and leftovers from their lunchboxes, losing an average of 10kg each in the process. Rogelio Guerra, Director General of Chihuahuabased telecommunication solutions provider IT Telecom, mentions that communications and security systems vary depending on each mine’s needs. This is why IT Telecom offers tailored solutions to each client in the industry by integrating the various technologies with which the company operates. “We are open to integrating several solutions instead of limiting ourselves and our clients by offering a single product,” Guerra says. “We are a flexible company. Our motto is to never say ‘no’ to any project. We always use any method necessary to provide the solution that matches our clients’ needs, and this ability has enabled us to grow rapidly.”
IT Telecom specializes in telecommunication and security solutions, and can connect any set of two or more points within a mine site. “We use various data transmission methods, such as OEFDM or micro wave antennas. We erect the necessary infrastructure from a very early stage and incorporate the necessary technologies to establish a reliable and complete communication network,” says Guerra. IT Telecom also maps the region in which the mine is or will be constructed, in order to establish the best way to connect the different spots. While designing and building infrastructure the company takes into account many other factors besides telecommunications technology, such as climate conditions. “We must integrate a solution for our clients in accordance with their budget and objectives. Above all, our solutions must be sustainable and durable, for the stakes of losing communication in a mine are high. We research and develop new methods to protect the equipment we install from any damage, thus providing reliability to mining companies,” Guerra explains.
As a result of decades of experience in servicing mining companies, IT Telecom has developed solutions in other areas of the mining industry in order to complement the company’s offering in telecommunications. For example, the company also offers security equipment, such as surveillance cameras and fencing infrastructure, which avoid the damage or loss of both infrastructure and equipment due to vandalism or theft. IT Telecom also offers solar panels and renewable power sources that can be relied upon on a permanent basis. “Our solutions have evolved based on new necessities within the industry, going from telecommunications to renewable energy,” Guerra says.
Guerra believes that the Mexican mining industry is moving forward in risk management thanks to the introduction of telecommunication technologies. “The integration of fiber optics is improving security in mines by benefitting internal communications. A combination of wireless technology – which allows for operational efficiency and mobility – and cabled solutions – which connect offices and servers, among other ports – is increasing connectivity,” he explains. IT Telecom has been at the forefront of this evolution by thoroughly analyzing the market and providing communication proposals that complement the solutions mining companies are already looking for. This is done without losing sight of the main goals and budgetary constraints of every client. The company develops and implements its solutions in a scalable mode, using modules that can be amplified or replicated as operations grow. “Participating in the mining industry, where working conditions are complicated, has greatly contributed to our experience and helped us improve our services and develop new solutions. We have made a name in the industry through our clients’ recommendations, and we have collaborated with many important mining companies,” Guerra adds.