Scope of Supply

NLT supplied the mine with a Wi-Fi network for the main underground headings and surface in the immediate boxcut, surface conveyors (CV001, CV002, and CV003), and the admin block. The mine now has an operational longwall and is the first mine to implement a remote start feeder breaker solution, which was developed by NLT in conjunction with JOY Global.

Site Detail

Xstrata’s Ulan West operation is a longwall mining operation adjacent to the existing Ulan Number Three Longwall mine at the center of the Midwestern area of New South Wales, in the Cudgegong River Valley. The operation has an expected life of approximately 18 years. It began in 2014 and will produce approximately 6.7 million tonnes of export thermal coal per annum. There are 50 staff, 50 contractors, and 250 personnel in mining crews on site.

Project Challenges

The project began on a brand new mine site, bringing both benefits and challenges that NLT had to adapt to. NLT’s Digital Solution had to be factored into the mine’s overall planning, infrastructure, and budgets. The major challenges slowed down once the site developed a regular operational rhythm, and Ulan West is now one of the most successful NLT Digital installations in Australia.

Project Details

The initial scope of work started with an administration area site survey. A messaging and tracking communications system was commissioned, designed and installed by NLT, who also provided training on use of the system. The project initially provided coverage for the administration area and boxcut, and has progressively been installed throughout all headings and development units in the underground mine. Work is underway to provide coverage to the aboveground conveyor area and longwall once the remaining systems are in place. Equipment provided to the mine for this project includes:
  • 360 Reverse Tracking Cap lamps (20 with POH)
  • 36 Type 2 Nodes
  • 15 Type 3 Nodes (Compact)
  • 52 RF Tags (Powered by Wavetrend®) fitted throughout the mine for tracking
The NLT Digital Suite® of software is designed to sit on top of the NLT Digital Network ® and allows on-site users to send and receive messages to underground miners, while tracking and monitoring the locations of personnel and equipment. Operators can search for particular skill sets and locate them in the mine site, and the system provides a reporting history for both tracking and messaging.