Finnish multinational telecommunications giant Nokia and South Africa-headquartered miner AngloGold Ashanti have successfully trialled 5G connectivity at an underground mine in Jerico, Colombia.
The trials, which were conducted in partnership with Tigo Colombia (the third-largest mobile phone company in Colombia) as well as Swedish mining engineering firms Epiroc and Sandvik, featured tests on "mission-critical" mining use cases.
A total of four mining use cases were tested as part of the trial carried out in Jerico, 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 that provides ultra-wideband connectivity, with speed over 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.”
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.