Rajant Corporation, known for pioneering Kinetic Mesh® wireless networks, partnered with Sandvik to conduct digital mining tests aimed at ensuring that wireless communication could be used with tele-remote and autonomous vehicles at De Beers Venetia diamond mine, which is South Africa's largest diamond mine. The open-pit mine has been in operation since 1992, with a Rajant Kinetic Mesh network providing resilient connectivity for surface vehicles. The Venetia Underground Project, a $2 billion investment, will rely on autonomous and remotely operated vehicles to mine diamond-bearing rock efficiently and safely, utilising new techniques for precise sub-level caving extraction, which extends the mine life into 2045.
Elen Toodu, Director of Global Automation Product Line & Projects at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, commented, "Our collaboration with Rajant demonstrates real cooperation in adopting best-in-class technology to enable our customers to mine safer and more efficiently. Allied with Sandvik's world-leading mining machines, the Rajant Kinetic Mesh wireless connectivity allows full utilization of our advanced systems."
The Sandvik intelligent loaders and trucks incorporate smart solutions that rely on ubiquitous network connectivity within the challenging underground environment. Rajant's BreadCrumbs® network nodes are mounted in fixed points within the mine and on every vehicle to directly connect to the vehicle's cameras and control safety systems, ensuring that the controlling systems have a 100% connection to the onboard systems.
Chris Mason, Rajant VP of Sales, EMEA, explained, "Rajant's extensive mining heritage in over 270 mines globally has led to the development of the latest Peregrine BreadCrumbs used for validation. This not only proved the resilience of connectivity and ruggedization to survive in the mining environments but provided extremely high throughput and ultra-low latency required for multiple application use."
Rajant technology is deployed in many mines globally, offering future-proof wireless connectivity. Each time Rajant launches a new BreadCrumb with added functionality, such as increased throughput, additional radio frequencies, or advanced management and control software, each new version is backward compatible with earlier models. This offers a clear path to continual improvement and network upgrade, which is critical when operations extend well into the future, like Venetia.