Global miner Zijin Mining Group’s subsidiaries South Africa Zijin Platinum and Nkwe Platinum have partnered with telecommunications company MTN and technology group Huawei to build a fifth-generation wireless technology-enabled (5G-enabled) platinum mine.
This will mark a significant step forward in the digital transformation of the local mining industry, effectively demonstrating how a number of emerging technologies, such as remote vehicle control and Internet of Things, can be combined with 5G to improve functionality across the mine.
These kinds of advancements are becoming increasingly important as South Africa seeks to remain competitive in the global mineral and resources space.
Zijin says it has regarded scientific and technological innovation as a primary driving force of the company since its establishment in 2000. The group became one of the few multinational mining companies globally to be equipped with autonomous system technology and engineering management capabilities.
Nkwe MD and CEO Fan Zhiyu notes that the company set out to build the Zijin Garatau platinum mine, launched in May 2021 and located in the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex, with advanced technology and solid safety and environmental protection practices.
He adds that the adoption of this 5G smart mining solution will certainly enable the company to deliver on that promise and to establish the mine’s technology-led global competitiveness.
“The Garatau platinum mine is one of the Zijin Mining Group's major overseas projects. The collaboration with MTN and Huawei will help Zijin build its first high-tech and safe overseas smart mine, brimming with socioeconomic value, from the initial stage of construction. We will also work hard to promote sustainable development in Africa."
MTN business chief enterprise officer Wanda Matandela says 5G technology is a gamechanger that can transform old mining processes and MTN aims to play a leading role in this regard.
With MTN having invested more than R50-billion in modernising its network over the past five years, it has put the telecoms provider in a better position to offer faster and seamless connectivity to its customers.
Huawei global carrier marketing and solution president Peng Song points out that digital transformation has become a global trend across numerous industries, and “5G has undoubtedly accelerated this”.
Huawei is bringing its 5G-based information and communication technology solutions into the mining industry and building a cross-industry ecosystem to continuously improve network connectivity, and help maximise the network value of telecoms companies such as MTN.