Eutelsat provides connectivity to remote mining operations in South America

    In a small country with limited infrastructure like Guyana, connectivity can prove to be a formidable challenge, and even more so for remote mining operations. Through Eutelsat’s services and partner i-Net, DD Mining overcomes this challenge with an innovative, portable solution.

    Guyana contains one of the most prospective yet under-explored gold regions in the world. It has a long history of alluvial gold production as mining plays a crucial role in raising income levels and driving economic growth in Guyana. However, Guyana is also known for its challenging terrain that thwarts any attempts at establishing long-term infrastructure. With its thick rainforests and expansive savannah, traditional networking solutions cannot support remote operations. Researchers, engineers and workers in this industry have historically been forced to remain isolated from the world while on the job, foregoing the use of applications connecting them to their offices and families.

    iNet Communications, in association with Eutelsat, has implemented an innovative solution for one such mining company in Guyana. With intelligent use of satellite connectivity, portable technology and networking, iNet with Eutelsat have brought fully scalable internet, voice, data and cloud connectivity to the mining community in Guyana. Read on to find out how.

    Disconnected operations

    DD Mining conducts its search for gold in the extensive Pakaraima Mountain range which is situated between Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil, well out of reach of communications networks.

    For each mining expedition, DD Mining conducts a phase of exploration to gather information on the soil and establish the extent of the future mining area. However, to analyse this data, they need to connect to their main office, upload the technical data into the cloud and then receive the results after analysation. As expeditions became increasingly remote, this process took its toll on the company, causing frequent bottlenecks and substantial delays. Even if they were able to establish a connection at a mining camp, they would have to deconstruct it and start the process again once the expedition was completed.

    For mining staff and worker morale, the situation wasn’t much better. When conducting mining operations, staff are entirely disconnected from the rest of the world for weeks to months on end. The need for basic communications on social media apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and email to reach out to their families went from an inconvenience to impacting their performance and well-being.

    Mining operations in the area quickly became unscalable and started to make little business or ethical sense for the company and the staff that comprised it. They needed a mobile solution that could connect their operations to the rest of the world.

    A portable solution

    When a temporary mining base is set up, the need for a portable internet connection is crucial as the operators will need to move to various locations during their exploration. Since these mining sites are very remote, the only suitable connectivity option is using satellite. This is where i-Net Communications stepped in to assist.

    i-Net Communications Inc. is a Guyanese internet service provider, based in Georgetown, whose mission since 1999 is to make Guyana a more connected country with broadband, communication networks and cloud services. Operating across the region, the company also serves Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname, and Trinidad. Upon hearing DD Mining’s connectivity problems, i-Net Communications worked with Eutelsat to tackle the challenges involved in remote, portable connectivity.

    To respond to the connectivity needs of DD Mining, i-Net Communications installed a portable networking solution that uses satellite to achieve connection. The VSAT setup consists of a portable modem, transceiver, small 1 metre satellite dish and light-weight router which can be easily transported and set up on command. Thanks to Eutelsat’s satellite reach in the area, DD Mining could achieve a consistent, reliable connection to the head office and the outside world.

    With the entire set up of the solution taking less than an hour to establish a connection, DD Mining no longer encounter the bottlenecks and delays of the past. Workers and staff can easily connect with their family and friends over long mining expeditions and keep in touch with the rest of the world. The solution was a resounding success on all fronts.

    George Melville, CEO of Global Technology and i-Net Communications, is delighted that his company can contribute to improving work conditions in the country: “Communication between mining camps and the city was previously difficult due to limited or no internet access. Our customers in the mining industry mostly appreciate the flexibility, affordability and reliability of our service that allows them to carry out their onsite work efficiently. We value the fact that connectivity is contributing to the advancement of mining in Guyana, and we are proud to be able to provide high-quality connectivity to the camps regardless of their remote nature.”

    A permanent connection

    Today, DD Mining enjoys scalable internet, voice, data and cloud connectivity. Download speeds up to 10 Mbps and a data allowance of 30GB per month enable communications with HQ, mining analysis and crew welfare.

    “Connectivity is fast and reliable, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The equipment was small enough to be transported by small aircraft into the mountains, then by a small boat to our initial research site,” says Carl Ghanie, Director of Engineering for DD Mining. “The hardware is durable, which comes in handy because we have moved the satellite link several times over rough jungle terrains like rivers, streams, rapids and hunting trails. Our internet service experience is always amazing. We can easily establish satellite connection no matter where we are.”

    i-Net and Eutelsat’s solution has largely met the needs of DD Mining. It is convenient as miners can easily relocate elsewhere with their equipment and re-establish a connection in less than one hour. Workers across Guyana value the improved communication between the camps and relatives and friends while on expeditions. At the same time, executives and researchers can use various online software to conduct their mining research on site.

    A partner to your success

    Eutelsat has supported internet service providers around the world, giving them the ability to reach out and access opportunities that were previously inaccessible to them. With prominent satellite positions offering the best service, signal and broadband available, Eutelsat continues to connect the most remote locations and communities to the rest of the world.

    If you would like to find out more or are seeking a connectivity enabler for your own business, consider using Eutelsat. Only Eutelsat can offer the service, reliability and reach that comes with a global satellite provider. Contact us today, or find out about our solutions on our website.