Finnish telecom firm Nokia and AngloGold Ashanti Colombia have conducted a private wireless 5G test for underground mining in Jerico, Colombia.


The underground 5G mining trial has tested mission-critical communications. (Credit: AnglogoldAshanti)

The trial, which is said to be the country’s first, has been carried out in partnership with Epiroc, Sandvik, Tigo and OSC Top solutions.

Epiroc and Sandvik are developers of vehicles, and mining automation systems, while OSC Top solutions has been chosen for the integration of services and solutions for drone inspection.

The proof of concept is aimed at demonstrating the possibility of deploying multiple mining use cases over a private 5G SA industrial-grade network in a challenging underground environment.

As part of the pilot, the companies have tested four mining use cases, including inspection and monitoring with drones and high-definition cameras.

The underground 5G mining trial has tested mission-critical communications, connectivity and remote teleoperation of vehicles, and mining machinery and systems.

For the trial, Nokia supplied an industrial-grade 5G private wireless network that offers ultra-wideband connectivity, with a speed over 1Gbps and with scope for ultra-low latency.

The network, which is powered by Nokia AirScale 5G portfolio in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band with the support of Tigo Colombia, was deployed in the context of the Colombia Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications’ (ICT) 5G testing framework.

Nokia Northern Latin America enterprise head Alejandro Cortes 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.”

The proof of concept involved the integration of AirScale radio bases and adaptive antennas with massive MIMO capability into a 5G SA architecture with network partitioning capability, enabling independent virtual networks to be generated for each use case.

Last month, Nokia was chosen by Finland’s VTT for an industrial 5G underground mining project.