Finnish telecoms giant Nokia has deployed an industrial-grade private wireless network across the Minera Centinela copper mine for Chilean mining group Antofagasta Minerals.
Antofagasta’s Centinela open pit mine is located north of Santiago at an important mining zone containing sulphur and oxides. The mine produces copper concentrate and cathodes, as well as molybdenum and gold.
According to Nokia, the industrial-grade private wireless provides the high capacity and low latency required for mining companies to reliably and securely connect a variety of sensors, devices, equipment and vehicles, above and underground.
Nokia’s head of enterprise for Latin America Marcelo Entreconti claimed the introduction of the new private network marked “the first wave of Industry 4.0 projects in Latin America”.
“Deploying these networks is considered the first and most important step in the digitalization journey of mining companies, and lays the groundwork for an expansion beyond connectivity where Nokia is already proposing solutions to the global mining community,” added Entreconti.
As part of the deployment. Nokia created an industrial-grade private 4.9G/LTE solution, including Nokia AirScale radio equipment, mobile packet core, IP/MPLS service aggregation routers, and Wavence microwave transmission.
The network will initially connect a fleet of autonomous trucks across Minera Centinela. Going forward it will support a wide array of operations as part of a five-year digitalization plan which aims to transform the mining sector, while enabling safer and more efficient operations.
Gino Ivani, technology manager for Antofagasta Minerals, said: “We are transforming the way mining is done. We want to deliver excellence in everything we do, leveraging operational efficiencies to achieve the best results.
“We are committed to sustainable mining and to providing the safest and most efficient facilities. We are very pleased to leverage Nokia industrial-grade private wireless solutions and its experience in mining automation to support our efforts.”
Nokia currently has more than 420 private wireless enterprise customers globally, including over 35 mining customers in more than 60 mines. Last year, the company deployed a private 5G standalone network for Agnico Eagle Finland at Europe’s largest gold mine, Kittilä, situated around 900km north of Helsinki.
Author: Richard Hook