When Minjar Gold was looking for a way to improve network coverage and connectivity speeds across its remotely located Southern Cross operation in Western Australia, the company exhausted almost every option before finding the Vocus solution.
The Minjar operation is centred around Marvel Loch, approximately 400 kilometres east of Perth and nearly 40 kilometres away from the Southern Cross, the closest township.
This meant the site had no access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) and relied on a limited-speed telecommunication network through the legacy service provider.
“We wanted to ensure that our employees had consistent and reliable internet access to be able to remain connected with their loved ones while working on the site, as well as to provide them with better entertainment options, such as on-demand video streaming,” says Sean Kocis, Minjar Gold’s senior network and systems engineer.
The remoteness of the mine, however, made connectivity at the level that Minjar expected to achieve highly challenging, as the team found out in its research.
“We went through every possible connectivity solution, from microwave technology to fibre connectivity, satellite internet access, 3G, and 4G network. Each of these either had certain limitations for our project or was too costly,” Kocis says.
Eventually, a service integrator experienced in working with Vocus on resource projects recommended Vocus to Kocis as the right provider for Minjar’s requirements.
The right provider for the right solution
Through weeks of planning and feasibility studies and getting an intimate knowledge of the site’s needs, the Vocus engineering team delivered a private network to Minjar that offered over 10 times improvement on their previous connectivity speed, boosting it from about 40 Mbps to nearly 500 Mbps.
The Vocus team’s solution for Minjar Gold included working with Vocus’ Fixed IP Wireless partner GoldNet to implement a microwave technology solution that connects the mine through line-of-sight fixed IP wireless to Vocus’ fibre point of presence located north of the Southern Cross township.
From there, nearly 400 kilometres of Vocus fibre running underground to Perth provides the high-speed connectivity that Minjar Gold required.
Kocis says the benefits of the successful project delivery are multi-faceted, providing improved connectivity to both Minjar Gold’s mine site and the wider Southern Cross community.
“It’s hard to put into words the positive impact that this project has had, not just for our own employees, but also for the greater community of the town’s farmers and local businesses that are offered access to our private internet network,” Kocis says.
“It makes us proud to see that our employees and the town’s residents are now able to enjoy on-demand TV, FaceTime with their families, or order their required equipment for their farms online.”
“Our staff tells us they actually look forward to coming back to the site as the internet speed here is now better than at their own homes. We’ve also seen improved productivity among the team as we remain better connected through video-conferencing,” said Sean Kocis.