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Australian Lithium Mine Adopts Tait Express DMR Tier 3 Upgrade and Expansion


Talison Lithium Pty Ltd is a world-leading lithium mineral producer. The Greenbushes Lithium Operation is recognized as containing one of the world’s largest deposits of high-grade spodumene – a hard-rock lithium ore. Talison and its predecessor companies have been producing lithium mineral concentrates at Greenbushes since 1983.

The Customer

The mining and processing operations at Greenbushes have been upgraded and expanded over the decades to increase production and incorporate new technologies as demand for lithium minerals has grown. Talison Lithium opened a second chemical-grade lithium concentrate production facility (CGP2) in 2019 and a third chemical-grade lithium concentrate production facility (TRP) in 2022 which has more than doubled the production capacity of lithium concentrates to 1.4 – 1.5Mtpa. Development of a fourth chemical-grade lithium concentrate production facility at Greenbushes is now under way.

Who is Direct Communications?

Direct Communications is a Tait-authorised strategic partner (TSP) and have been Western Australia’s leading provider of Tait solutions for over 30 years. Direct Communications provides turn-key system solutions and integration.

The Previous Network

The prior analogue radio system was running 19 conventional channels on two towers and two solar powered skids, one of these channels was voted across the two skids and one of the towers utilising the Direct Communications SIMii voting controller. With growth in terminal numbers and additional repeaters, intermodulation was becoming a performance issue and safety risk.

Talison has a strong safety culture and is a leader in mining innovation through technology. Mine vehicles are fitted mobile radio units and an additional portable radio. The mine operates on a four-shift system and, along with their other PPE, employees are issued a portable radio on an as needs basis which they ensure is charged ahead of each work shift. The mix of terminals is approximately 60/40 in favour of portable radios. The mine topography is very hilly, and the open-cut pits often have deep and shaded slope faces.

“The number of people on the site has been growing so quickly – they’ve gone from having 300 terminals on the site to around 1,250, with another 500 to come – that the previous system was struggling to cope, and when communications on a mine stop, it means you’re shut down. You can’t mine.”
Steve Blackwell – Direct Communications – National Sales Manager

The Upgraded Network

Partnering with Direct Communications is Southwest reseller, D&J Communications, who were the incumbent communications provider when we started the program to upgrade, roughly two years ago, replacing the legacy Simoco analogue radios with Tait DMR capable terminals. All base stations within the existing analogue network were upgraded to Tait TB7300 DMR capable base stations over this time frame. This allowed for a smoother transition to a state-of-the-art Digital platform where the operators already had experience and were very familiar with the operation of the Tait subscriber units.

A major requirement for this deployment was having to run the analogue network concurrently with the new DMR network for one month as user groups moved across. This was a challenging requirement as we were re-using a large portion of the analogue networks infrastructure to form most of the new network. We deployed rental equipment and a solar trailer to assist in keeping the analogue network up and running to support
operations during the transition.

The deployment was so successful that within the first week the take up of the new network was 100% and the analogue network was decommissioned more than two weeks early. Talison Lithium via their onsite project management were an absolute pleasure to work with and played a significant role in this successful deployment.

The current configuration of the new network is:

  • Tait Express 20 DMR III Network Core
  • 2 x 9 + 1 Powered Sites
  • 2 x 5 + 1 Solar Skids
  • 2 x 7 + 1 Solar Trailers
  • Omnitronics Omnicore Express consoles and dispatch system
  • Eventide voice recording
  • Over the air Programming

The network is monitored and managed remotely by Direct Communications’ team of engineers in Perth and the inherent redundancy within the network design means we know about any equipment failure well before our customer does, which allows us to remotely make changes and maintain service levels.


Learn more about Direct Communications, Western Australia’s leading Tait dealer on their website.

Have a question or query? Contact us.


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