Finnish technology company Nokia and South Africa-headquartered miner AngloGold Ashanti have successfully trialled 5G connectivity at an underground mine in Jerico, Colombia, the companies said.
The trials, which were conducted in partnership with Swedish mining engineering firms Epiroc and Sandvik as well as local telco Tigo, featured tests on "mission-critical" mining use cases.
These use cases included 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 which provides ultra-wideband connectivity, with speed in excess of 1Gbps and with scope for ultra-low latency.
The network was powered by the 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.
Nokia said the proof of concept includes AirScale radio bases and adaptive antennas with multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) capability, all integrated into a 5G SA architecture with network partitioning capability.
"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," said Juan Camilo Quintero, Corporate Affairs and Innovation Director of AngloGold Ashanti Colombia.
Alejandro Cortes, Head of Enterprise, Northern Latin America at Nokia, said: "We thank AngloGold Ashanti Colombia for carrying out this proof of concept which is an important milestone in the company's journey towards digitalisation, automation and creating a 5G ecosystem in Colombia."
The miner's planned Quebradona project in Jerico is expected to treat 6.2Mt annually to produce 3 billion pounds of copper, 1.5Moz of gold and 21Moz of silver over a potential 23-year life. A feasibility study underway to determine the engineering activities is due to be completed in 2021.