Vale and Vivo to extend private LTE to Serra Leste mine in Brazil
Brazilian mining firm Vale has said it will extend its private LTE rollout to the Serra Leste open pit iron ore mine in Pará, Brazil. The move is part of a $3.9 million (R$21 million) agreement with Telefônica Brazil’s Vivo business unit, which has seen the pair already work with Nokia to deploy private LTE at the nearby Carajás Mine.
Although likely, it is unconfirmed whether Nokia will also be engaged in the new Serra Leste project, in the same mineral province as the Carajás Mine. Vale signed with Vivo late last year to implement private 4G/LTE network at its operations in Brazil. The Carajás deployment is the first private LTE network for the mining sector in Brazil. The Serra Leste project has been confirmed as the next deployment site, although a start date is not yet set.
Vale is in the process of deploying Wi-Fi at the mine as a short-term networking solution for its wider ambition to bring intelligence and automation to its operations at the site. A spokesperson commented: “The expansion to Serra Leste is in the project’s pipeline… In Serra Leste, we are currently implementing a Wi-Fi network that will be replaced by the 4G/LTE network at a [future] date.”
Vale has received a preliminary licence for the expansion of the Serra Leste mine in June, to increase production from around six million tonnes per year to closer to 10 million tonnes per year. The company is already using private LTE at its operations in Canada and Malaysia, it said.
At Carajás, three autonomous drills are already operating with private LTE; 13 autonomous trucks, currently on WiMax, will be migrated to private LTE at the Brucutu mine, in São Gonçalo do Rio Abaixo (Minas Gerais), in the same complex. Dam monitoring instruments are to be connected to the network, as well. Vale expects autonomous equipment to last 15 percent longer and use 10 percent less fuel.
Gustavo Vieira, IT director at Vale said: “In addition to the benefits regarding data volume and coverage, the use of LTE is also an important investment due to it is scalability; all mobile phone technology development must comply with this standard from now on. LTE is already being used; thus, technology upgrades will cost less than those for technologies that are not commonly used.”
Alex Salgado, B2B vice president at Vivo, said: “A private LTE solution meets the specific needs of businesses while meeting the requirements of mission-critical applications that demand high safety, mobility in production lines, free-interference spectrum, and traffic prioritization, as well as connecting a high volume of IoT devices in an open and widely available ecosystem.”