Martin Marietta Communication and Monitoring Solution

Company Brief

Company: Martin Marietta
Location: Burning Springs Mine
Mineral: Limestone


  • Wi-Fi for Radio over IP (RoIP) communication, Tracking, and POE powered camera all enabled by NLTs N-Connex ruggedized network solution
  • Network installation was completed by the mine’s staff using pre-terminated ethernet and fiber cable
  • Used point to point radio through an inaccessible shaft to provide a redundant backbone link between the surface and the mine.

Site Information

Located just outside of Petroleum, West Virginia, Martin Marietta’s Burning Springs Mine is a limestone aggregate producer. It provides a large portion of the Appalachian Region with aggregates for civil and industrial infrastructure.

Project Details

Martin Marietta’s Burning Springs mine was in need of an update to their communication system. The mine’s leaky feeder system had been neglected for years and as a result, communications in the mine were unreliable at best and non-existent in portions of the mine. Management’s goal was to have continuous radio communications from the front gate of the property to the working sections of the mine, including all surface operations and mine offices.

The network solution would need to have a modular design; for quick installation, maintenance, and to be easily repaired by staff on site. It had to support future IoT technology, and be able to handle the challenges of an underground environment. Mine management wanted to enhance mine-wide communication, personnel and vehicle tracking, and monitoring via video surveillance of important areas of interest on both the surface and the underground.


Burning Springs selected NLT’s N-Connex ruggedized network components because it was able to support current and future mine plans, mine personnel were able to install, service, and support it, and the cost of the solution met their budget. The network was comprised of the N-Connex Distribution and Edge switches, and Bolt access points.

NLT’s N-Connex hardware created a cost-effective, IP 67 water and dust resistant, redundant ring-network for the mine. The Distribution kits would be strategically placed in areas where for future expansion of the mine, and the Edge modules were used to span the network gaps. The network solution allowed the mine to implement and install communication systems, tracking, POE powered security cameras, and to enable further technology integration in the future.

The main business driver for installing a ruggedized network solution at the Burning Springs mine was to facilitate communication within the mine and to the surface. Using NLT’s N-Connex Bolt access points, Burning Springs can now communicate clearly over ICOM radios throughout the mine and to the surface. This led to an immediate productivity increase, as because the mine is able to communicate with and locate their staff.

The deployment of the N-Connex network also increased the safety and security of its employees and assets. Personnel and vehicles could now be tracked within the mine using the tracking tags, and the NLT Digital Mine Tracking Application. POE powered cameras were placed at strategic points throughout the mine to provide clear video of the crusher, drifts, and processing plant on the surface.

The NLT N-Connex rugged digital network solution helped Burning Springs to become technology enabled in the underground environment. In the future, this solution will further enable Burning Springs to implement and integrate technology to increase the safety, security, and productivity of the mine.

Project Challenges

Burning Springs required reliable voice communication link between the mine and the surface. Should the main connection go down a secondary trunk was expected to take over without affecting existing conversations. The only other portal to the surface was the main ventilation shaft. This shaft was 400ft deep between the surface and the mine floor. To span this gap without the use of fiber, NLT used point to point radios. These radios could wirelessly transmit the mine’s data with very little maintenance.

Installation by Customer

NLT worked with an outside contractor to manage fiber installation from the surface to the two portals. NLT and Matrix staff assisted Martin Marietta at the beginning of the network installation to get trained on the solution and to see that the more difficult initial construction of the point to point radio link was completed. From then point on Martin Marietta was able to complete the rest of the installation on their own.

Why They Chose NLT

Lowest cost per mile solution

  • Plug and play hardware
  • Rapid deployment of mine-hardened electronics
  • Specifications that meet system requirements
  • Interoperability with third-party IT and tracking systems
  • The ability for Burning Springs personnel to self-support system with ease