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Satellite system supports mine monitoring


A satellite-based information system that can assist mining organisations to improve productivity by more than half has been launched in South Africa.

Black economic empowerment (BEE) information communi-cations and technology (ICT) company e-Mbizo Solutions has developed a system that can also provide a holistic solution to the mining business environment, with enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration, customer relations management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and business process management over a highly-secured platform.

Chief executive Thabo Malebadi says the system is aimed at benefiting the mining, heavy-engineering, petrochemical, agriculture, construction, manu-facturing and aquaculture indus-tries.

“We have come up with a highly-introspective system that cost-effectively monitors operations, such as mining processes, at different operational stages,” he says.

The system enables the user to observe various operations remotely from a central office, or from anywhere in the world, through a secured geographical web-based platform. The key focus is to offer the mining industry a system that will help control and maintain the level of productivity in accordance with targets, explains Malebadi.

With the dawning of modern technology, it became increasingly possible to obtain and manage information systems, thus providing businesses and management with the tools to make effective strategic decisions and manage operational processes to improve efficiency, he states.

The company provides ultramodern systems for logistical information management tools, ranging from mobile-asset controls to static-remote site-telemetry monitoring services and organisational operational workflow enhancements. Although the system has been tested, it has not yet been used locally.

It has almost doubled produc-tion and improved efficiency at a copper-mine in Zambia, though, where the system was first tested and installed.

This diverse system can monitor underground operations, including parameters such as air-pressure, temperature, conveyor systems, haulers, elevator buckets, movement of bulldozers, and the pace of production.

If the rate of production is slower than the set target, the system alerts the operator, by means of SMS or e-mail, and can also detect any potential breakdown.

This reduces downtime, losses and maintenance, while increasing productivity and control over production, explains Malebadi.

The system has also been used in North Africa, particularly in Ghana, where it is used in various industries to monitor production and trucking developments.

In Botswana, it has been used by a trucking company.

Based on satellite technology, the system is linked to a European-based satellite network company that developed the technology in conjunction with e-Mbizo Solutions.

The system is developed to be versatile and flexible – to adapt to the user’s environment, regardless of the nature of operations.

The applications in this technology allow real-time access to operational progressions as they take place over a constant live global coverage satellite network. All occurrences are recorded, and a full report is compiled to provide useful logistics information that will automatically form statistical data for ERP systematic purposes, which, in turn, forms a comprehensive management tool for the whole organisation.

Co-owner of e-Mbizo Solutions, Amos Malebadi, says the system is not limited to monitoring operations, but can also be used to improve safety and security. “This system is the first in South Africa and we believe it will benefit the country’s economic status,” he says.

He says since the system allows the operator to monitor the entire production by satellite, it is easy to account for any part of production, as well as valuable assets in the company.

For ERP integration, the system can be integrated into the company’s operations and administration, and manufacturing or industrial processes in order to observe equipment workflow.

“We can also supply satellite telecommunication systems to the military, peacekeeping missions, municipalities, security and intelligence agencies, while electricity and energy companies can use the system to counter theft and illegal set-ups of electricity cables,” says Malebadi.

He says the development of the satellite-based system is also a job-creation venture as it provides opportunities to previously-disadvantaged individuals to explore their expertise in IT.

Apart from providing IT solutions, the company has a social development programme, Oracle Plan, an initiative aimed at alleviating poverty among the previously-disadvantaged.

The focus in this initiative is on educational development programmes that empower local people with shared projects, and is aimed at the youth specifically.

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