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Argyle Diamonds logoArgyle Diamonds - Underground Mine Project


The Argyle Diamond Mine operations are located 150km south of Kununurra, in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia.


The Argyle Diamond Underground Project is designed to target access to the ore body via block cave mining and is expected to extend the life of the mine by at least ten years. The block cave is expected to generate on average 20 million carats per year.


Project Description:

Merge IDC was engaged by the Fluor Australia Pty Limited and then directly to Rio Tinto T&I to work under contract for the task of upgrading control system and services system network hardware currently Ruggedcom to a Cisco IE series Industrial Ethernet network switches. This was designed to simplify maintenance and to Bring Argyle in line with Rio Tinto standards.


The Argyle Diamonds Underground Expansion Project (ADUP) supports three physical networks PLC network, SCADA network and Services Network. In conjunction with the upgrading of the hardware the PLC and SCADA networks are to be combined into one physical network to be referred to as the Plant Network. The services network will remain physically separate and upgraded to the new hardware called the Production Network. High availability is achieved in the case of convergence using Cisco proprietary Resilient Ethernet Protocol (REP).


Merge IDC had to ensure that service and production disruption was kept to a minimum, development and planning for the cutover and integration works were the responsibility of Merge IDC.


Merge IDC were responsible for the following tasks:

  • Configuration of the Cisco IE network switches
  • Installation and cutover of the Cisco switches and the removal of the old Ruggedcom switches. This was achieved through careful planning and minimised down time.
  • Factory and site testing of network design and implementation of REP for high speed convergence.
  • Site commissioning of the upgraded networks.
  • Document and prepare as built manuals for hardware installed on site.

Other tasks controlled and managed by Merge IDC included:

  • Confirm fibre/Install and configure elements at predetermined locations.
  • Finalize and document Mine Service Elements.
  • Prepare the Underground Production Office for cutover.
  • Prepare the cutover for the Exploration Decline node.
  • Commence Cable and additional Hardware labelling
  • Implement Quality of Service configuration on site.



Merge IDC successfully upgraded all hardware from Ruggedcom to Cisco with no impact to mining operations. Merge IDC were the first company to implemented Cisco proprietary Resilient Ethernet Protocol (REP) in Rio Tinto operations. Site testing proved no lost time from network convergence using REP.