Tailings monitoring using subsea gliders in Indonesia

Blue Ocean Monitoring (Blue Ocean), a provider of real-time ocean data services, is pleased to announce the completion of a contract in Indonesia working for PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PTNNT), which is a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the world's largest gold producers with assets or operations on five continents.

Blue Ocean’s task was to utilise an autonomous (unmanned) subsea glider to monitor PTNNT’s Tailings "Placement Program" at its Batu Hijau copper-gold mine in Sumbawa, Indonesia. The program involves tailings from the mine being piped (3.2 km) out to sea and deposited off the continental shelf, where the depth reaches in excess of 4,000 m.


The subsea "Slocum" glider, manufactured by Teledyne Webb Research, was deployed to monitor turbidity levels, to ensure that deposited tailings were not being disbursed into the coastal environment of Sumbawa or surface waters. The monitoring program lasted for 3 weeks.

Blue Ocean is the largest commercial owner and operator of the Teledyne Webb Research Slocum glider globally. The glider provides persistent near-real time ocean information via a secure proprietary data acquisition & visualisation system.

Newmont is a $11bn market cap Fortune 500 listed Company. Newmont’s Placement Program at Batu Hijau is aligned with the company’s commitment to meeting its environmental responsibilities. Tonny Bachtiar, PT Newmont’s General Supervisor (Environmental Monitoring) stated "The monitoring project, in our view was very successful and demonstrates our willingness to introduce new technology to show our commitment to the environment".

Simon Illingworth, CEO of Blue Ocean said "We were very happy to work with a company of PT Newmont‘s size and standing. The project ran smoothly from start to finish and the data returned by the glider showed the Placement Program is proving to be a success. The glider was able to determine quickly at the outset of the project whether Newmont’s Tailings Placement Program was doing what it had been designed to achieve. This was very important given the cost, magnitude and environmental sensitive nature of the program".

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