Co-op in Enabling Improved Prod. & Safety in Underground Mines between Sweden and South Africa

Save favourite 8 Jan January 2016
Research exchange University of Pretoria

This project will act as a starting point for joint research collaboration between Mid Sweden University and the University of Pretoria. To goal with the cooperation is to strengthening the research in WSNs for industrial automation at both universities by investigating and developing robust wireless communication systems that can handle real-time traffic and enabling application like localization of assets in terms of people and machinery in underground mines.


This project is aiming to support the cooperation between Mid Sweden University and the University of Pretoria (South Africa) to solve challenging problems in achieving robust communication over lossy wireless links in underground mines to enable improved personnel safety. Modern mining is a high-tech undertaking in decidedly hostile environments. In the interest of mine safety and productivity, it is that the operators are continuously aware of underground conditions and risk profiles. They must be able to locate and communicate with mine workers at all times, particularly in the events of fire, roof falls or other life-threatening situations. Today, the communication infrastructure is based on wired communication, but wired communication systems are prone to damage in flooding, fires and collapses and therefore a robust wireless communication system will be vial and needed. The scope of this application is to discuss and set up case studies in both Sweden and South Africa, and propose new innovation solutions that improves the robustness of the wireless communication and increases the productivity and safety of mining operations. Cooperation will be performed in the form of guest lectures, co-organized workshops, and joint supervision of MSc- and PhD-students.

This project is cooperation between the STC research center at Mid Sweden University and the Advanced Sensor Networks (ASN) group that belongs to the University of Pretoria. The ASN group is a leading hub of research and development in the area of sensor networks in South Africa and was established in 2005 by Prof. Gerhard P. Hancke. The group has a long history in working with mining industry in South Africa.


This cooperation will strengthen both research groups even further and become the leading groups in focusing on WSNs for industrial automation and in particular the mining industry. In summery this project will include these elements:

  1. Research visits: Senior researchers and MSc/PhD students to short research visits at each university in order to work on the research problems.
  2. Invited Lectures: senior researchers give lectures at the universities in a subject related to the cooperation.
  3. Workshops: Organize workshops with mining companies in South Africa. The main purpose of the workshop is in depth discussions of research questions and also gathering real-life requirements from end-users. A site visit to Mponeng mine will be planned.

The overall aim of this initiation is to make this cooperation perpetual. There for during the project period a strategy for funding further cooperation after this projects finishes will be discussed and developed. During this project, contacts will be established with researchers in other universities and institutions form countries with strong mining industry such as Turkey, Chile, Australia, Canada and US to form a larger community in this area.


University of Pretoria (Prof. Gerhard Hancke, Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering)


STINT - Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning


Project leader
Prof. Mikael Gidlund
Phone: +46 21-34 51 63

Filip Barac (PhD student)
Prof. Gerhard P. Hancke (senior researcher, University of Pretoria)
Bruno Silva (PhD Student, University of Pretoria)

Project period


Bruno Silva from the University of Pretoria held a guest lecture at STC

Bruno Silva University of Pretoria

In a new research project Mid Sweden University and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, started a joint research collaboration with the goal to strengthening the research in WSNs for industrial automation. As a part to the project PhD-student Bruno Silva from the research group Advanced Sensor Networks – ASN, visited Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall and held a guest lecture to researchers at STC.

Read the full interview with Bruna