Featured article, written by Dan Gleeson, on Canadian Technologies for the April 2023 issue of International Mining Magazine
Maestro Digital Mine has now successfully expanded its Plexus PowerNet™ communications network to over 100 Plexus nodes at the Borden mine in northern Ontario – an operation that was billed as being one of the world’s first all-electric underground mines.
Plexus PowerNet™ is used as the mine’s last mile communication backbone on every level.
Newmont's Borden Mine was an early adopter of Maestro Digital Mine's technology, trialing the Plexus solution soon after its launch in late 2017. Once the mine was developed, fibre was run to each dual-level’s substation.
The Plexus PowerNet™ nodes form the foundation of the network, providing power to access points and end-point devices with their four PoE+ ports, according to Maestro. The nodes are equipped with a USB port that allows for a quick and convenient way to upgrade the firmware and store configurations. The nodes also feature simple port diagnostics that allow users to easily monitor power consumption, voltage and data rates, the company says.
Newmont uses both the Plexus PowerNet™ and CISCO access points to extend its network from its substation to the inner workings. This has allowed it to successfully run, among other advanced solutions, Sandvik's AutoMine® on LHDs, tele-remote drilling operations and telemetry. This increases safety by removing miners from hazardous working conditions, while allowing the LHDs to return to the face quickly after a blast to maximise vehicle uptime. The tele-remote applications have been reported to run 24/7, effectively executing remote mucking on three different levels simultaneously.
At the present time, all the mine’s devices are connected using the Plexus network.