Challenge: Underground Mining Network Connectivity

Rampura Agucha Mine, Rajasthan, India
Hindustan Zinc, Vedanta Limited
Submission Deadline: Friday 26 August 2022, 5:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)


Challenge Overview

Vedanta is seeking technology-based solutions that help reduce the risks, impacts, and occurrence of communication gaps in their underground mining operation at the Rampura Agucha Mine (RAM).


Vedanta Resources Limited is a globally diversified Natural Resources Company with interests in zinc-lead-silver, iron-ore, steel, copper, aluminium, power, oil and gas.

Vedanta's Rampura Agucha Mine (RAM) is the second largest zinc mine in the world and is highly mechanized with state-of-the-art technology. Underground mining is carried out using long-hole stoping with paste filling method, and mined out stopes are backfilled with cemented rock and cemented tailing in past form.

The Problem

Currently, a leaky feeder communication system is used in the footwall drive area of the mine. However, this system is not available in any of the cross cuts. The only form of communication in the cross-cut is a telephone at the cross-cut entry.

The result of this system means that there is a communication gap when jumbo/solo drills are in the cross-cut, posing significant safety issues and production inefficiency through delays.

As jumbo/solo drills enter the stopes through cross cuts, communication between them is lost. There is potential for machines to be working directly above/below each other, significantly raising the risk of rock falling from the slope area.

Communication gaps also reduce efficiencies for operators, and developments are not streamlined. Delays in moving machines from one activity to another during each shift changeover cause production or development metres loss. Better network connectivity will enable deployment decisions and more equipment utilization.

Technologies Trialled

Currently, portable antennas are provided. While this solution works, it is considered temporary as cross-cuts are in operation for approximately 15 days for a single stope. new cross-cuts are continuously developed and a new portable antenna needs to be set up for each new cross-cut in order to maintain communication.

The Solution

Vedanta are seeking solutions that address the below factors:

  • Technological solution to maintain constant communication between jumbo/solo drills.
  • The technological solution should not only mitigate  the issue related to voice communication but also facilitate data communication, so that we can get the live telemetry data from the machines being operated in stopes and should be able to operate it from surface in tele-remote mode.
  • Solutions that reduce or eliminate the need for portable antennas.
  • Solutions that can be deployed rapidly and at scale as new cross-cuts are developed.
  • Other solutions that can reduce the risk associated with communication gaps in underground mining operations


Submissions will be screened and reviewed by Austmine and Vedanta to find the best suited solution.

Your submission should recognise and address the challenge, identifying the key benefits and shortfalls that your solution may present. If you already have a solution in the market, you may attach relevant case studies to your submission. If you're presenting a novel solution to this challenge, you may choose to demonstrate the Technological Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution to this challenge, you may choose to demonstrate the Technological Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution and how it can be developed and tested on site.

The Process

  1. Submission Period
    Suppliers are invited to submit their short-from solution to the challenge by Friday 12 August for evaluation from Austmine and Vedanta.

  2. Evaluation Period
    Shortlisted supplies will be invited to a technical briefing, where each supplier will be able to gain more information about the challenge from Vedanta. This will allow you to refine your submission prior to the next stage.

  3. Pitch Session
    This is the opportunity to 'sell' your solution and gain feedback from operational terms, presenting directly to Vedanta.

  4. Full Proposal Submission
    Following the Pitch Session, shortlisted suppliers are invited to submit their formal technical and economic proposals to Vedanta.

  5. Winner Announced
    Vedanta selects the best fit solution/s for the challenge. Unsuccessful submitters are notified in writing by Austmine.


Challenge Timeline

Challenge Launch Webinar

16th August 2022

Submission Deadline

26th August 2022

Technical Briefing

19th September 2022

Pitch Session

26th September 2022

Full Submission Deadline

14th October 2022


Program Overview

Austmine is pleased to launch the Australia-India Mining Innovation Program (AIMIP). The aim of this program is to provide advice, training and support for Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) companies with an interest in the Indian mining market, and directly link these companies with export opportunities, supply needs, and operational challenges working with India's largest mining organisations.

The partnership between Austmine and Vedanta aims to connect Australian METS suppliers to resolve critical challenges, drive operational excellence and champion world's best industry practices.

Challenge Partners