S I Analytics has supplied 65 AQMesh pods into Southern Africa since 2016, many of which are used in mining applications. The small, post-mounted air pollution monitoring units measure a range of gaseous pollutants and particulate matter, as well as environmental conditions. Independently powered using solar or battery power, the AQMesh ‘pods’ use the mobile phone network to send data, so no infrastructure is required: monitoring of NOx, SO2, PM2.5 and other pollutants can be set up in a matter of days.
Mining applications in Southern Africa which use AQMesh include copper, phosphate platinum and coal extraction and handling. Typically the mining client will set up a network of pods to monitor in key locations around the perimeter of the facility, potentially including nearby sensitive zones, such as schools. Monitoring of wind speed and direction (an AQMesh sensor option or public data can be used) allows the source of any pollution to be identified by distance and direction. This can be particularly helpful when there are several potentially polluting sources in close proximity and sources need to be identified or ruled out.
Air quality data from AQMesh can be accessed by secure login or an API connection set up to automatically feed into a client database. All data is confidential and can only be accessed by the owner. Exceedance alerts can be set up directly from the AQMeshData.net server or from the client’s server. With readings updated as quickly as every five minutes, this local real-time pollution monitoring can provide vital input to site management.
In several cases the AQMesh pods have been introduced and are managed by environmental consultants and the pattern of use is very similar, although consultancies may be in a position to overlay additional modelling and other analysis.
As well as various sites in the Republic of South Africa, AQMesh pods have been used in Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Mark Rowand, Managing Director of S I Analytics commented: “So far, from a mining perspective, the application for the AQMesh pods has been immense. We have used them for pre-mine feasibility studies by providing baseline data for the necessary legal Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), all the way through to existing mines which require site and fence line or community monitoring. In addition, having been in the monitoring industry for over 15 years, the turnaround time and pre- and post-sales support provided by AQMesh has been exceptional, demonstrated recently by the supply of 17 units to the middle of Africa within two weeks over the December period!”
AQMesh has been used in around 50 countries to monitor air quality in a range of applications, including mining in Australia. Near real-time data allows daily air quality patterns to be monitored and deviations identified and addressed quickly, whatever the source. The product is the result of long-term development, with proven high accuracy and long-term operation across a range of challenging environmental conditions, from volcanic zones to Kurdistan oilfields and frozen Minneapolis winters.