Feature, Industrial, IoT/Smart Lighting

Mine uses IoT to track and control its lighting

Locating lighting towers in the vast open-cast mines in Australia is a major problem, but one mining company thinks it has come up with a solution using the Internet of Things.

ONE OF Australia’s biggest mines is using an IoT lighting platform to track and manage its portable lighting towers.

A mobile lighting tower typically used in Australia’s open cast mines. This unit, from Australian manufacturer Towerlight, has been designed to meet Australian Mine Safety Standards and uses four 2kW metal halide lamps. Picture courtesy Towerlight.

The vast Roy Hill open-cast iron ore mine in Western Australia uses diesel-generator powered lighting rigs to provide illumination for its miners but because of the scale of the operation – its railway line alone is 214 miles long – locating them is a major problem.

‘You would be surprised how many lighting towers would go missing between shifts,’ says the mine’s general manager of technology, Rebecca Kerr.

‘Once they found them, often [the lights] had no fuel so they had to go and get maintenance to [refuel them].

Our strategy was to drive around at night looking for the lights for refuelling.’

Roy Hill has now installed a GPS-based telemetry system on the lighting towers, which provides field workers using mobile tablets with maintenance information – gathered by IoT sensors – such as how long towers have been switched on and how much fuel has been burned by their generators. This helps them make decisions that will cut energy costs for the mine.

The solution also adjusts lighting levels during sunrise and sunset and automatically reduces lighting during planned shutdowns.

Speaking at the CIO Summit, an event for chief information officers in Perth, Australia, Kerr said: The towers can also be turned on and off now by the remote operations centre. said Kerr. ‘We seemed to have lost way less of our lighting towers since then.’

Mine lighting towers have traditionally been based on metal halide light but have in recent years moved over to LED and lumen packages have increased.

Roy Hill is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, some 70 miles north of Newman and 172 miles  south of Port Hedland. It has estimated reserves of more than 2.4 billion tonnes, and is to produce 55 million tones of iron ore annually with an operating life of more than 20 years.


  • Learn more about IoT lighting at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition and conference which is being held at London ExCeL on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.


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