Satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais to explore IoT technology in the monitoring of tailings dams.
Inmarsat has developed a “remote monitoring solution” based on IoT devices and satellite technology that can observe the condition of tailings dams, and provide information on their operating status in real-time to employees anywhere in the world. The company lists piezometric pressure, pond elevation and local weather conditions as some of the characteristics measured by the solution, as it seeks to provide a holistic summary of a dam’s operating status.
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These characteristics are then combined into a single metric to measure dam performance and delivered to the Inmarsat cloud.
“The safety of tailings dams is a long-standing issue in the mining industry,” said Inmarsat Enterprise president Paul Gudonis. “With our 40 years of heritage and expertise in providing critical safety services across different industries, we can bring this experience to help the Minas Gerais State Government monitor the tailings dams in its region.
“Our IoT-based monitoring solution leverages advanced connectivity technologies to give mining companies total visibility over the safety and integrity of their dams and enables them to take action to avert safety issues.”
The memorandum of understanding is particularly important to the state of Minas Gerais in the wake of the collapse of a Vale dam at Brunmadinho earlier this year and the subsequent issued identified with tailings facilities. The disaster is believed to have claimed more than 240 lives although the final fatality toll still remains unknown.
These concerns have been compounded by recent confusion over the safety of the company’s Gongo Soco pit, also in Minas Gerais, which the state government predicted would have a 15% chance of collapse due to landslides within the operation, threatening local people.
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