AfriCAN Insight

Delivering connectivity across Africa's mining region

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The mining industry must dig deep during a challenging 2017 in which falling commodity prices are expected to continue to impact profitability and sustainability. At the same time, many existing mines are maturing, forcing mining companies to look further afield in their pursuit of valuable minerals.

According to McKinsey & Company, global mining operations are 28% less productive than a decade ago, as mining companies have slim-lined expansion plans and refocused on doing more with less.

Despite the rich mining potential across sub-Saharan Africa, the forecast for the region’s mining sector growth also remains slow as companies face operational challenges and regulatory uncertainty. Much hope and expectation for the sector’s future therefore lies with technology and innovation, which are key to enhancing productivity, reducing risk and unlocking new efficiencies throughout mining operations.

The vision of a connected mine is slowly becoming a reality as some of the world’s largest mining companies look towards emerging technologies such as cloud and Big Data to revolutionise the performance of their mining operations. As more mining companies pursue automation across their operations, greater focus is falling on connectivity.

As a result, mining companies across Africa are on the lookout for higher quality network services – even to mines located in some of the remotest corners of the continent.

Through the largest independent pan-African fibre network, Liquid Telecom provides coverage to mining areas across the region, including the entire Copperbelt. Where fibre is unavailable, Liquid Telecom is able to offer its award-winning VSAT, which provides business-speed internet to anywhere in Africa.

“High-speed, reliable connectivity is required to support platform technologies such as cloud and mobile,” says Liquid Telecom’s Group Managing Executive of Satellite and VSAT Scott Mumford. “Mining companies today are on the lookout for greater bandwidth, SLA and QoS. And at competitive prices.”

Reliable networks with high capacity are essential for providing connectivity between mines and headquarters, as well as for providing Wi-Fi for site offices and employees. Liquid Telecom is currently working alongside mining customers, such as Metorex, to provision networks that can support future high-bandwidth applications.

In addition, Liquid Telecom has recently deployed its first Mx-DMA® satellite link for a mining company in Africa. Mx-DMA technology, which is a new and innovative bandwidth allocation technology for satellite developed on the Newtec Dialog® VSAT platform, can lead to bandwidth efficiency gains of up to 50%, providing more reliable and efficient high throughput connectivity for mining operations across the region.

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