Booyco Ya Batho
Communication in a mining operation is critical to safety, however, says Booyco Ya Batho, in underground mining this is seldom the case.

Don du Plessis, general manager of Booyco Ya Batho, says that for this type of communication network to be effective and reliable it has to be configured to the site specific requirements.

Historically, complete imported communications systems have not met all the legislated requirements and, in many instances, while not performing as anticipated these were also expensive.

Du Plessis says that an in-depth understanding of how communication systems can be configured in challenging operating environment is what sets Booyco Ya Batho apart in the mining industry.

“We believe that for the local mining industry it is a major advantage to be able to leverage off local expertise and have access to communications systems and products that are capable of meeting the challenges within the underground mining environment,” he says.

“It can be confusing when confronted with the technology and jargon used by communication network configuration companies, and it is not always easy to make an informed decision.

“We work very closely with our customers to assist them in understanding what technology is available and what exactly it can do for an operation.”

The first step would be for Booyco Ya Batho to conduct an in-depth survey of the area in which the communications system would need to function.

This, according to du Plessis, would allow for the network to be configured in such a manner so as to eliminate those areas where communication is not necessary, such as mined out areas.

“When a one-size-fits-all communications solution is applied, this type of in-depth assessment is not done and these types of communications solutions could weaken and create unnecessary interference,” du Plessis cautions.

“By doing an in-depth survey of the communications requirements it is possible to optimise the RF propagation without sacrificing on the reliability or performance of the network.

“And this will elimination the situation where the communications network has been over-engineered for the need at hand,” he says.

Understanding propagation patterns is critical to the success of the performance of the communications network and this is where Booyco Ya Batho brings its in-depth knowledge and skill to the industry.

Du Plessis says that recent test work has proved that effective communications is possible wirelessly over a distance of 1 km underground next to a conveyor belt. The tests were recently conducted by the company in an operating coal mine.

“It is all about understanding what the signal is doing. This is key,” du Plessis says. “It is this thinking out of the box that enables us to comply with the requisite standards.”

Founded in May 2010, Booyco Ya Batho’s market offering includes locally manufactured and designed communication products aimed at the underground coal and hard rock mines, including wireless access points and associated products.

The company also does the cost effective installation of fibre optics, networking and ancillary services.

Feature image credit: Booyco Ya Batho