Arrium brings microwave to Peculiar Knob mine

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Arrium brings microwave to Peculiar Knob mine

Communications network in remote Australia takes shape.

Arrium Mining is on the verge of completing a microwave communications network to connect the various parts of its Peculiar Knob open cut iron ore operations in South Australia.

A presentation made by mining chief Greg Waters to the UBS Iron Ore Seminar yesterday briefly revealed the near-completed status of the project.

Peculiar Knob was formerly owned by WPG Resources, which sold its iron ore assets to OneSteel for $346 million last year. OneSteel changed its name to Arrium this year.

Three "40 metre-plus" high towers to host microwave antennas have been installed at the Peculiar Knob mine site, accommodation camp and the Wirrida rail siding respectively, which are spaced over a 100-kilometre area.

"Each microwave antenna has two dishes in each direction to compensate for atmospheric deflection and to provide a level of redundancy of the signal," an Arrium spokeswoman told iTnews.

"The network has a maximum speed of 100 megabits per second between sites."

Further microwave links are expected to be installed at the borefield "in the coming month", according to the UBS presentation. The borefields are the water source for the project, according to an engineering firm that worked on the site.

Data from Peculiar Knob is hauled back to Arrium's Sydney data centre via a 25 Mbps Nextgen link.

"While we were waiting for this infrastructure to be completed, we engaged Telstra to provide a satellite based connection to our corporate network at the camp, which we will leave in place to act as a backup," the spokeswoman said.

Telstra is also providing terrestrial 3G services around the accommodation camp.

"Telstra has installed a 3G network repeater," the spokeswoman said.

"Telstra performed a site assessment and an appropriate antenna was installed on the camp tower to provide coverage around the camp only."

Ore mined from Peculiar Knob is to be transported via a haul road to the Wirrida siding, where it will ultimately be loaded onto trains bound for Whyalla Port.

Trains are expected to begin hauling ore from the site early next month, according to a report by AdelaideNow.

The mine is located near Coober Pedy, about 850 kilometres north of Adelaide.

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