Technology group Nokia has teamed up with gold miner AngloGold Ashanti for an underground 5G mining trial in Colombia, proving that it is possible to deploy multiple mining use cases over a private 5G industrial-grade network in a challenging underground environment.
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 of more than of 1 Gb/s and with scope for ultra-low latency.
The network is powered by the 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 Information Communication Technology.
“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 digitisation of mining in Colombia and Latin America,” comments AngloGold Ashanti Colombia corporate affairs and innovation director Juan Camilo Quintero.
The proof of concept includes AirScale radio bases and adaptive antennas with massive multiple-input and multiple-output 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, which 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 to 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.