Industrial Plant / Mining

South African mines use fibreflow™ to install safe and secure fibre networks

When it comes to establishing a reliable and high-performance communication system, the mining industry has amongst the most pressing needs and daunting challenges. SPACE, SAFTY, SECURITY & PRODUCTION? These and other important issues have a much higher significance in the mining environment.

Fibre optic cabling is the logical solution for mine-based applications because of its high bandwidth capabilities and minimum space requirements. However, traditional implementation techniques require considerable built-in redundancy at the outset, which increases start-up costs. In addition, network maintenance and upgrades can involve severe operational disruption and long down times – not to mention potentially dangerous procedures. A technology that eliminates the need for redundant cabling would definitely offer far-reaching practical and financial advantages.


Fibreflow™ offers flexibility needed for mining environments

Blown fibre offers all the benefits of conventional fibre optics, while providing significant additional benefits in terms of security, safety, production capabilities and growth potential.

In mining projects, cabling need to be installed in very tight and often hazardous areas, for example, down a vertical shaft. With fibreflow™ technology, such precarious installations can be completed with speed and ease. Future maintenance or upgrades can be performed instantly. By using spare tubes in a route, mining production can continue as usual and ‘live fibres’ remain untouched, no downtime! Fewer people are required to do upgrades or changes thus reducing the security and safety risk. Mines need to be in operation 24 hours, 7 days a week to keep up with demand, so down time has to be kept to a minimum. Fibreflow™ offers flexibility and peace of mind that is so crucial in these environments.






Immediate and long-term financial benefits

In financial terms, fibreflow™ outperforms conventional fibre because it eliminates the need for redundancy and reduces start-up costs. For example, installers blow in only the cabling that is required for current requirements. Future requirements? Fibre can be added with ease as and when the need arises. This in addition to the reduction in required personnel and equipment costs, along with financial losses avoided by continual operation makes it clear that fibreflow™ technology offers considerable financial advantages over the life span of a network.

Cabling designed for the special demands of the mining industry

Mining projects require a design that would be durable and offer protection to the people down in the mine. With this in mind, a heavy duty HDPE FR tube with Corrugated Steel Tape (CST) or Steel Wire Armoured (SWA), fully filled with PVC between primary tubes and covered with an outer sheath made of a Low Smoke, Zero Halogen (LSZH) or Polyethylene Flame Retardant orange coloured compound was created to customer specifications.




Fibre optic cabling, when applied with fibreflow’s blown fibre technology, is the ideal choice for the demanding requirements of the mining industry.

Important points to remember when considering using fibreflow’s blown fibre technology:

  • Security
fewer personnel need to be involved
  • Safety
procedures are much less hazardous
  • Production reliability
no down time, no disruption
  • Growth potential
bundles can be added and modified in line with demand
  • Space
compact and physically flexible
  • Capacity
very high bandwidth
  • Expenditure
lower long-term cost of ownership

Thus far we have introduced and installed the fibreflow™ technology to:

    • De Beers – Finsch Mine Lime Acres

(Shaft Deployment done in 2005, still adding fibre to date)

    • De Beers Botswana - Campus Network Project
    • Impala Platinum – Shaft 1, 11, 11c, 16, 17, 20

(Various Shaft deployment done since 2006, still adding fibre bundles as required)

Shaft’s 14, 15 & 18 (to be completed)

  • Lonmin Platinum – Hossy Shaft completed
  • Western Area Plats, New security up-grade
  • BHP Billiton - Khutala Coal – 70 km Instrumentation Project 2010
  • AngloGold Ashanti – Mponeng – New Hybrid Tube deployment (WiFi). Currently 30km installed.
  • AngloGold Ashanti – Moab Khotsong – New Hybrid Tube deployment (WiFi). Currently 20km installed.
  • Rand & Johannesburg Water Board – Various project deployed, preferred fibre technology
  • Anglo Platinum – Modikwa Mine – Surface area, North and South decline shafts completed 2013.
  • South 2 mining sector started 2015, presently still adding fibre
  • Sasol – Sasolburg & Secunda Plants has implemented blown fibre technology as a standard.
  • Petra Diamonds – Lime Acres (formerly De Beers) – expansion on the current blown fibre network that was implemented in 2005.