World’s largest iron ore company mines 5G boost

Russian mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has teamed up with Ericsson to build a commercial 5G-ready private network for the world’s largest steel and mining company, PJSC Severstal.

According to MTS, the duo will develop a dedicated LTE and 5G-ready network for dispatching voice and video communication systems, positioning, and video monitoring of transport and mining equipment at the iron ore mining and processing plant JSC Karelsky Okatysh in the Russian republic of Karelia.

The network, due to launch in April 2022, will be built on the Ericsson Dedicated Networks solution, which includes a cloud-based packet core. For the first stage of the project, the network will operate in the LTE standard before an upgrade to a 5G network to cover the quarries and production facilities which produce 20% of Russian iron ore pellets annually.

For the second stage of the project, MTS said it plans to modernise solutions for the automation of processes for the extraction, transportation, and processing of ore, as well as delivering “technology-based solutions” for the collection, processing, storage and visualisation of data from the plant.

Severstal’s head of digital technologies Vladimir Lyushenko said the upgrade is “an important project” for the Karelsky Okatysh site as the existing industrial Wi-Fi network in the quarries is working “at the limit of its capabilities”.

Georgy Dzhabiev, director of digital solutions at MTS, said: “A dedicated network being created for the Karelsky Okatysh plant will combine communication, monitoring and dispatching systems with the enterprise's IT infrastructure, which will improve the efficiency of managing the fleet of transport and mining equipment at the quarry, and in the future, automate a number of production processes.”

JSC Karelskiy Okatysh is one of the largest iron ore reserves in the world with estimated reserves of 1.29 billion tonnes of ore grading 63.2% iron metal producing 10.6 million tonnes of iron pellets annually. The mine uses 3D CAD mine planning software for quality and volume control with fully integrated fleet management systems for dump truck flow optimisation.

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