Kirkland Lake has installed a 5G private network at its Detour Lake gold mine in Ontario.
It will be the first mine in Canada to have a 5G wireless private network, Kirkland Lake said. Detour Lake is the second-largest gold mine in Canada, behind Canadian Malartic mine owned by Agnico Eagle and Yamana in Quebec.
The technology will allow Kirkland Lake to expand tele-remote drill operations and research into autonomous haul trucks, Kirkland Lake chief executive Tony Makuch said.
Workers will have better connectivity, communication and safety, Kirkland Lake said. The technology will also lead to industrial IoT sensors and drones which can deliver supplies to the bottom of the mine.
Canadian telecoms giant Rogers has deployed five cellular network towers throughout the mine site. The network also will have a full backup system. The network will cover all 80 square kilometres of the mine site.
These improvements will be monitored on a digital dashboard, Kirkland Lake said.
Demand for 5G networks at mining operations is expected to be weak, according to a recent report. Pandemic stresses on the global economy will further slow the widespread adoption of 5G technologies in many mining operations.
As part of the installation of 5G at the mine, Kirkland Lake also worked with Rogers to build eight wireless cell towers which will provide service to 180 kilometres along Highway 652 between Cochrane and the Detour Lake mine.
The network will be operational by the summer.
Kirkland Lake and Agnico Eagle will complete their merger next quarter.