Pilansberg Platinum Mines TSF Monitoring

Proactive continuous monitoring of tailings dam critical parameters to ensure stability and safety

About the customer
Sedibelo Resources is an established South African Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) producer. It currently operates the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine (PPM) on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex - an open pit mining operation which commenced production in March 2008.
Project summary
Insight Terra provides a resilient and secure edge- and cloud-based data management and monitoring solution encompassing IIoT sensors and data logger aggregation devices of different types, together with a wireless base station and an Edge Industrial Process Automation (IPA) server - all of which enable real-time data transfer to the Insight Platform and Tailings Monitoring dashboard application.
Monitoring of mine tailings storage facilities
Pilansberg, South Africa
Mining & Minerals

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The customer's need

Pilansberg Platinum Mines (PPM) aspires to be a safe, inclusive and sustainable mining company by embracing innovation and pioneering the use of new technologies to create greener, cleaner Platinum Group Metals. With a strong culture of proactive risk management and focus on international best practice, PPM has an objective to comply fully with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM).

Following an initial independent review PPM established a baseline tailings facility monitoring plan encompassing tailings embankment water pressure sensors and the Insight Terra Tailings Insight Platform.

Our solution

The Insight Platform deployed for the project consists of three key components:

·     Edge-based hardware and software – facilitates connectivity to the internet, data collection, aggregation, and data transfer to the Insight Platform

·     The cloud-based Insight Platform for near real-time data management, security, and storage

·     A web-based customizable client dashboard for visualization of collected data in a wide variety of charts, gauges, tables as well as geo-spatial, heat map and interpolation formats.

The Insight Platform is built on Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure, and by virtue of its microservices architecture provides high levels of scalability, availability, security, integration, and data management to users anywhere in the world. A key element of the Insight Terra solution is the combination of AWS services that support the Insight data management platform - within the AWS Virtual Private Cloud, Insight Terra utilises the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, Container Service for Kubernetes, Relational Database Service, Key Management Service and a number of other specialised services to enable Insight Terra to provide an agile, secure and trustworthy data management service to PPM.

After an initial period, the tailings facility controls were significantly broadened to include the ingestion of various freeboard, toe drain, slope stability, downstream borehole water level management measurements, as well as on-site rainfall tracking and the integration of various operational technology (OT) metrics from an existing PPM SCADA system. All of these form part of a LoRa (long range) network across the length and breadth of the tailings facility, enabling the data to be collected in real-time by the gateway on site. The Insight Edge IPA server collects measurements in real-time from the PPM SCADA Historian that includes slurry density, milled tons, and various volumetric flow rates.

How is PPM benefiting from the solution?

The PPM tailings facility responsible engineers can now access real-time, continuous, and detailed insight into a variety of key critical risk control factors that might affect the integrity of the tailings facility as well as the surrounding environment:

·     Embankment slope stability

·     Embankment pore pressure, as well as phreatic head and surface elevation states

·     Water levels (‘freeboard’) contained in the tailings facility as well as downstream boreholes

·     Slurry densities and flow rates to the tailings facility, milled tons, return water flows, toe drain seepage rate

·     Additionally, the status of any instrument and its associated power source is monitored and known at all times.

The Insight Platform has delivered efficient, secure and resilient near real-time monitoring of the tailings storage facility in accordance with the requirements of its design engineers, Epoch and in compliance with the GISTM.

Project Partners

Strategia Worldwide

Strategia Worldwide, a UK-based global risk advisory firm, led the project to implement Insight Terra’s automated tailings monitoring solution at PPM. The overall project incorporated independent reviews against the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management (GISTM) by WSP Global, and an insurance review by McGill & Partners, a UK-based specialist re/insurance broker.

TecWise Africa

TecWise South Africa is a subsidiary of the Comms International group of companies. Insight Terra partnered with TecWise South Africa to consult and provide an array of integrated instrumentation sensors to PPM.  Tailings facility control measures that require an array of different sensors, often from different manufacturers, also require an organisation that can implement and pro-actively support all of the devices.

Epoch Resources

Epoch Resources is the appointed Engineer of Record for PPM.  It is a leading provider of residue management solutions to extractive industries who strive to provide solutions that not only comply with applicable legislation and standards but meet the approval of all stakeholders, including local communities.


Worldsensing supplied the Loadsensing Tilt90 tilt meter devices as well as data loggers and the LoRaWAN gateway – enabling connectivity and aggregation of sensor data before transmission to an Insight Edge IPA server for transformation and transmission to the Insight Platform.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts the Insight Platform in its Virtual Private Cloud infrastructure.  AWS is the world’s most comprehensively and broadly adopted cloud computing service provider, offering compute, storage, databases, machine learning and AI, data lakes and analytics, and IoT services.  AWS core infrastructure is flexible and secure, built to satisfy government, military and banking requirements.

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