Glencore Bulga Blakefield


Scope of Supply

NLT supplied the hardware and software required to implement a Digital Network solution with two-way messaging, tracking and VoIP communications in Bulga. Due to an underground fire and explosion back in January 2011, the site was required to implement these solutions to ensure the safety of workers.

Site Detail

Bulga consists of an open cut mine, an underground mine, and a coal handling and preparation plant located near the townships of Singleton, Branxton and Broke in New South Wales. The underground is a Longwall mining operation that began in 2010 and has approval to mine the coal from four coal seams (Whybrow, Blakefield, Glen Munro and Woodlands Hill) until 2030.

Project Challenges

The Bulga operation uses a Power Output Headpiece (POH) as part of their respiratory system. NLT had to redesign and recertify their RT Messenger cap lamp headpiece to fit with and power the 3M air purifying respirator (APR) the mine uses. This allowed the mine to take advantage of the tracking and two-way text messaging functionality of the RT Messenger cap lamp, while continuing to use the 3M APR that was standard for them.

Project Details

The initial scope of work involved providing Wi-Fi communications to the underground workings and surface administration area. The site has since taken on an entire fleet of NLT Reverse Tracking Messenger™ Cap Lamps in order to provide two-way messaging and tracking capabilities.

Included in the solution are:

  • 460 Reverse Tracking Messenger™ Cap Lamps (with POH headpiece)
  • 40 GII Cap Lamps
  • 38 NLT Type 2 IS Nodes
  • 11 NLT Compact IS Nodes
  • 12 Power Supply Units
  • 12 VoIP Phones

The NLT Digital Suite® of software is designed to sit on top of the NLT Digital Network ® and allows on-site users to send and receive messages to underground miners, while tracking and monitoring the locations of personnel and equipment. Operators can search for particular skill sets and locate them in the mine site, and the system provides a reporting history for both tracking and messaging.