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Canadian Coal Producer Upgrades with Ashtech MB 500 GNSS

March 10, 2010
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Teck Coal has recently upgraded the computer navigation system on its fleet of 30 Caterpillar D-10 and D-11 dozers with Ashtech MB 500 GNSS boards for more efficient performance. 

Elkford, British Colombia, Canada  --  Teck Coal, a major Canadian coal producer, has recently upgraded the computer navigation system on its fleet of 30 Caterpillar D-10 and D-11 dozers with Ashtech MB 500 GNSS boards for more efficient performance. The new MB 500 boards improve dozer efficiency and uptime, at the company’s four mining operations here in the Elkford valley, by delivering more comprehensive satellite coverage, despite the adverse site conditions, including high walls, reduced sky and multi-path, typical of open pit coal mines. The new boards also have the virtue of being small enough to be housed entirely within the on-board Octagon computer thereby freeing up valuable cab space.

The Ashtech MB 500 boards are configured to acquire and track L1/L2 GPS, GLONASS and SBAS satellite signals and provide a 20 HZ update rate to the Gemini GPS Control software on the Octagon Systems RMB-C1 computer running Carlson Grade Control software. For the highest operational accuracy at each of the four mining operations, an Ashtech ProFlex 500 reference station transmits UHF real-time RTK centimeter accurate correction signals to the on-board MB 500 units. The ProFlex 500 has embedded UHF, GSM/GPRS and Ethernet connectivity, and like the MB 500 board tracks dual-frequency GPS and GLONASS signals as well as SBAS ranging signals, all of which are optimally processed by the patented BLADE technology. Gemini Positioning Systems Ltd. is the system integrator.

The new boards replaced externally mounted, dual-frequency, single constellation receivers that at times lost satellite coverage forcing the dozers to stop and switch to survey mode slowing the entire mining operation. Multi-constellation positioning, GPS+Glonass+SBAS, definitely grants more robust and complete coverage in adverse site conditions.

Equipment and Location:

Ashtech GNSS board – MB500
Ashtech GNSS Base station – ProFlex 500
Caterpillar D10 and D11 Dozers
OctagonSystems RMB-C1 (
Software: Carlson Grade Control / Gemini’s GPS Control software
Location – Elkford / Sparwood, BC
Minesites – Teck Coal; Fording River Operations / Line Creek Operations / Greenhills Operations / Coal Mountain Operations

About Teck
Teck is Canada’s largest diversified mining, mineral processing and metallurgical company. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, it’s a world leader in the production of copper, metallurgical coal and zinc, molybdenum and specialty metals.

About Gemini
Gemini Positioning Systems Ltd., based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, provides GPS system integration, design and consulting services specializing in custom GPS and satellite applications and installations.  It is the exclusive Canadian distributor for the Ashtech Survey, GIS and OEM GPS navigation and positioning products.

About Ashtech
Recognized as an industry innovator, Ashtech has been developing GNSS technology for more than 25 years.  Ashtech is the creator of BLADE technology, which introduces a unique patented method to the market using multiple GNSS constellations for high-accuracy positioning.  Ashtech has also introduced the MobileMapper series of products for GIS and mapping, as well as the ProFlex 500 and ProMark series, including the ProMark 500, ProMark3 RTK and ProMark 3, a well-recognized GNSS Land Survey product line currently on the market. Ashtech S.A.S. is privately held and headquartered in Carquefou, France, with offices in Beijing, China, and Singapore, as well as affiliates in Santa Clara, California (Ashtech LLC) and Moscow ( Ashtech A/O LLC). For more information on Ashtech, visit

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