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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

Nokia underground 5G connectivity pilot

Trial successfully marks future connections for LATAM mining Metal Tech News – September 29, 2021


Last updated 11/2/2021 at 2:46pm

Nokia AngloGold Ashanti Colombia 5G underground network industrial-grade

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

With the fast-coming digitization and digitalization of the mining industry, 5G has been the lynchpin technology barring full implementation until now.

Nokia and AngloGold Ashanti Colombia Sept. 23 announced they are testing the potential for safe, sustainable, and efficient deployment of a 5G standalone industrial-grade network in a challenging underground mine environment in Jerico, Columbia.

Four mining use cases were tested as part of this trial carried out in collaboration with Epiroc, Sandvik, Tigo, and OSC Top Solutions – mission-critical communications; connectivity and remote teleoperation of vehicles; mining machinery and systems; and inspection and monitoring with drones and high-definition cameras.

"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," said Alejandro Cortes, head of enterprise, Northern Latin America at Nokia. "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."

Nokia deployed an industrial-grade 5G private wireless network that provided ultra-wideband connectivity, with speed in excess of 1 gigabits per second and scope for ultra-low latency.

The network was powered by the latest Nokia AirScale 5G portfolio in the 3.5 gigahertz 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 (information, communications, and 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," said Juan Camilo Quintero, corporate affairs and innovation director of AngloGold Ashanti Colombia. "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."

The proof of concept included AirScale radio bases and adaptive antennas with massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) capability, all integrated into a 5G SA architecture with network partitioning capability, which allowed independent virtual networks to be generated for each use case.

Additionally, the pilot was carried out in close collaboration with Epiroc and Sandvik, leaders in vehicle and mining automation systems, with OSC Top Solutions to integrate services and solutions for drone inspection.


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