Nokia and AngloGold Ashanti Colombia, in collaboration with Epiroc, Sandvik, Tigo and OSC Top solutions, has conducted the first underground 5G mining trial in Jerico, Colombia.
The successful trial proves it is possible to safely, sustainably and efficiently deploy multiple mining use cases over a private 5G SA industrial-grade network in a challenging underground environment. It also demonstrates how government, service providers and industry have come together to advance the digital transformation of the mining industry in Colombia and Latin America.
Four mining use cases were tested as part of the trial including mission-critical communications, connectivity and remote teleoperation of vehicles, mining machinery and systems, and inspection and monitoring with drones and high-definition cameras.
Nokia deployed an industrial-grade 5G private wireless network which provides ultra-wideband connectivity, with speed in excess of 1Gbps and with scope for ultra-low latency. The network is powered by the latest Nokia AirScale 5G portfolio in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band with the support of Tigo Colombia, and has been deployed in the context of the 5G testing framework of the Ministry of ICT.
Juan Camilo Quintero, Corporate Affairs and Innovation Director of AngloGold Ashanti Colombia, said: “For AngloGold Ashanti Colombia it is important to be at the forefront with the latest technologies to ensure safety, sustainability, reliability, productivity and environmental sustainability. Working with a technology pioneer like Nokia to carry out the first 5G trials of mission-critical connectivity and autonomous driving for mining is an important milestone in the development of Industry 4.0 and the digitization of mining in Colombia and Latin America.”
Alejandro Cortes, Head of Enterprise, Northern Latin America at Nokia, said: “Mines require ultra-reliable networks that can cover large outdoor areas or underground corridors. Nokia’s industrial-grade 5G solutions deliver robust, secure, predictable and deep wireless coverage, and are the backbone of digital transformation in the mining sector. We thank AngloGold Ashanti Colombia for carrying out this proof of concept which is an important milestone in the company’s journey towards digitalization, automation and creating a 5G ecosystem in Colombia.”
The proof of concept includes AirScale radio bases and adaptive antennas with massive MIMO capability, all integrated into a 5G SA architecture with network partitioning capability, which allows independent virtual networks to be generated for each use case.
Additionally, the pilot was carried out in close collaboration with Epiroc and Sandvik, who are developers of vehicles, and mining automation systems, with OSC Top solutions for the integration of services and solutions for drone inspection.
According to a recent study by Nokia and the analysis firm OMDIA, 5G technology will generate a positive economic impact of $11.4 billion in Colombia’s mining sector during the period 2021-2035. An IDC 2021 Worldwide Mining Decision Maker Survey also revealed that 86% of mining companies plan to invest in wireless infrastructure in the next 18 months, with most of them naming 5G as their priority because of its lower latency and higher bandwidth.
Nokia currently has more than 340 enterprise customers of industrial-grade wireless private networks globally, including more than 35 mining customers in more than 60 mines.