A private 5G industrial-grade network from Nokia enables one of the first autonomous mining experiments in Latin America in Colombia. Machines can ignite dynamite in a mining hole without human supervision, thanks to cameras and sensors. One of Colombia’s Andes mountain mines is facing a strategic quandary that has to be addressed.
According to the national statistics agency DANE, 27% of Colombians live in poverty, so many untapped economic potentials and a pressing need are needed. According to reports, Colombia is trying to increase copper production to fulfill the country’s expected demand for rechargeable batteries and coal and gold. However, disasters are common in Colombia’s deep mining areas, as they are across the world. According to specialists in mine safety, rescue, and public health, more than 1,200 accidents occurred in Colombian mines between 2005 and 2018, resulting in more than 1,000 fatalities. According to the national mining agency, six out of every ten deaths in the first eight months of this year were caused by illegal miners working in illegal mines.
The use of related technologies may provide a solution.
According to Alejandro Cortes, the firm’s director of enterprise for northern Latin America, the spectrum’s numerous frequency bands are a crucial attraction in these early days for private 5G-enabled miners. The pilot has shown the mine’s workforce how new technologies may aid with day-to-day operations while also increasing efficiency and production. Operating autonomously below necessitates the use of high-definition imaging, which allows computer vision algorithms to accurately identify distinct rock components, while controllers above ground need ultra-low latency to make directional adjustments to the machine.
Also, some telecom providers anticipate that 5G would promote digital efficiency and deep mining safety measures. An iron mining and processing company owned by Russian mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has begun building a 5G-ready private network. With the private company network, employees would be able to communicate by voice and video and position and mine video data. While other carriers are promising 5G in the future, MTS is only offering LTE speeds for the time being.
Agnico Eagle will partner with Telia, Digita, and Nokia to build a 5G network at the Kittila gold mine in Finland, accessible both below and above ground. Agnico Eagle Finland Oy said it would cooperate with Telia, Digita, and Nokia to build a new private 5G network at the Kittilä mine. According to the business, an underground mine 5G network has been developed, becoming one of the first instances of new 5G technology being put into industrial usage.
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At Europe’s biggest gold mine, the 5G network is being developed to function above and below ground.
For numerous years, the Kittilä mine has operated remotely controlled and autonomous gear. The Kittilä mine will be able to take additional development stages in the future thanks to the construction of a private 5G network.
It is expected that the mine’s network will be built utilizing the newest 5G standalone technology, which will be widely available this year and next. Long service life and excellent performance are predicted from the latest technology, which will be used in the mine’s enormous tunnel system at depths of up to one kilometer.
Telia, Digita, and Nokia will work together with Agnico Eagle Finland to place a 5G network. Veljekset Toivanen Oy will collaborate with the initiative on a local level. As far as we know, no analogous systems have been deployed in a mining context before the one being designed for the 5G standalone network. Phased deployment of the 5G network will begin in early 2022 and be complete by the end of October that year.