5G-ready network installed at Teck mine
To support cutting-edge technologies at BC coal operation Metal Tech News – Nov. 4, 2020
Last updated 11/3/2020 at 4:05pm
Shaw, a leading Canadian telecommunications company, and Nokia have deployed Western Canada's first-ever industrial-grade private LTE network at Teck Resources Ltd.'s Elkview steelmaking coal mine in southeastern British Columbia.
"This first-of-its-kind private LTE mining network solution built by Shaw is a giant step forward for global 5G innovation," said Nokia Canada President Jeffrey Maddox.
Shaw Business, which provides enterprise-level connectivity solutions, says the 5G-ready private LTE network built exclusively for Teck's Elkview Mine provides greater coverage and reliability than the traditional, non-dedicated wireless networks currently available.
"The global economy is on the verge of the next industrial revolution – a change that will be driven entirely by 5G and other advanced connected technologies," said Shaw Business President Katherine Emberly. "Through this project, we were able to combine our spectrum assets with our deep industry knowledge and sector expertise to help Teck boost productivity, efficiency, and improve safety while transforming their network infrastructure to deliver significant operational value."
This industrial-grade network is based on the 5G-ready platform offered by Nokia, a global leader in digital platforms deployed to support smart mining opportunities such as artificial intelligence, robotics, automated equipment, predictive maintenance and a wide range of other internet of things technologies. This platform is so trusted here on Earth that NASA recently selected Nokia to deploy its 5G-ready network on the Moon, to be the first LTE communications system on the lunar surface.
"In partnership with Shaw, we are deploying our industrial-grade private LTE networking solutions to provide the powerful, scalable, and flexible capabilities of a private, dedicated network to Teck," said Maddox.
Because this solution is fully private and ready for the next generation of wireless networking, Teck can operate current and future mission critical mining applications at Elkview Mine without the conflict of any outside IT and operations constraints that are prevalent in similar non-dedicated wireless networks.
"Nokia's 5G-ready private wireless portfolio enables Teck to be future-proofed for years to come – allowing for significant digital transformation in the mining industry and beyond," said Maddox.
The installation of an LTE network for the mining systems at Elkview also supports RACE21, a companywide initiative launched by Teck in 2019 to improve productivity and efficiency at its mines through cutting-edge technologies such as:
• Machine-learning predictive maintenance for its mining equipment.
• Mining analytics to optimize cycle times for hauling ore and waste material.
• Artificial intelligence driven improvements for mineral processing.
• Connecting data systems to improve blast and shovel performance.
"Teck's RACE21 program aims to generate new value, reduce operating costs and significantly improve safety, sustainability and productivity at our operations, and improving network infrastructure will support achieving those goals," said Teck Resources Chief Transformation Officer Andrew Milner.
Teck says RACE21 resulted in more than C$150 million (US$113 million) in annualized earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2019. The implementation of RACE21 technologies is expected to boost the Vancouver, BC-based mining companies annual earnings by an additional C$350 million (US$264 million) this year, for a total of roughly C$500 (US$377 million) per year moving forward.
Teck is also looking at opportunities for using 5G-ready private LTE network technology at some of its other mining operations in Canada, United States, Peru and Chile.