HomeAutonomous VehiclesAn “Industry 4.0 benchmark” – Nokia, Claro combine on private LTE at Chile gold mine

An “Industry 4.0 benchmark” – Nokia, Claro combine on private LTE at Chile gold mine

Nokia is working with mobile operator Claro in Chile, a regional subsidiary of Mexican telecom group América Móvil, to equip South African mining company Gold Fields’ new Salares Norte mine with a private LTE network.

The new network will support remote-controlled trucks, excavators, drills, and drones, and general automation of mining operations. It has been designed to connect 150 sensors for operational processes, monitoring, and accident prevention, plus 72 connected vehicles and machines.

It will also enable critical voice, data, internet and video communications to improve efficiency, productivity, and worker safety. Nokia said the deployment will make the Salares Norte mine “one of most ‘digitalized’ mines in Latin America, and a benchmark for Industry 4.0”.

Nokia is providing the radio, core, and transport networks, as well as the network management system, under its AirScale and NetAct product lines, respectively. Nokia and Claro will provide network design, testing, and deployment.

The network will provide “robust, secure, and predictable” coverage for critical OT use cases, the Finnish vendor said. Nokia expects the deployment for Gold Fields, and the partnership with Claro Chile, to boost Industry 4.0 opportunities in Chile elsewhere in mining, as well as in “energy, railways, utilities, and agriculture”.

South Africa-based Gold Fields, listed on the Johannesburg and New York stock exchanges, has nine operating gold mines, located in Australia, Peru, South Africa, West Africa, as well as the new Salares Norte in Chile. It claims annual gold-equivalent production of 2.24Moz, and gold-equivalent mineral reserves of 52.1Moz, and mineral resources of 116.0 Moz.

Nokia has a good track record with private LTE and 5G contracts in the mining sector, including in the Latin America region. It claims to have supplied 40-odd mines, among a stated roster of 260 enterprise customers for ‘private wireless’ infrastructure.

It has publicised contract-wins in the mining sector, notably, with Vale and Vivo to extend private LTE to the Serra Leste mine in Brazil, with the mining division of Swedish tool manufacturer Sandvik for deployment of a 5G SA network at a test mine in Finland, and for private LTE in NORCAT’s underground test mine in Canada. Nokia also has a five-year tie-up with Telefónica for private LTE at the Minera Las Bambas copper mine in Peru.

Claro’s enterprise division claims its “range of flexible and adaptable digital solutions… [for] mobility, security, cloud, IoT” have positioned it as one of the “most relevant players in the industry”. It is unclear whether it is referring, here, to the industrial sector at large, or to mining specifically.

Francisco Guzmán, enterprise director at Claro, said: “By deploying ultra-reliable, high-performance, low-latency networks, we’ll be able to deliver the best tools and connectivity to support the development of mining 4.0, which is focused on digitizing its operations, and what better than doing this with a partner like Nokia, that has world-class expertise and knowledge.”

Fernando Sosa, head of Nokia in the Southern Cone region of South America, said: “Automation relies on the ability to sense, analyze and act. To do so, industries are connecting every sensor, machine and worker in the most flexible way – and for that they need business and mission-critical wireless networking solutions such as private LTE/4.9G. By working with Claro Chile to create such an automated ecosystem for Gold Fields, we are opening new opportunities for enterprises and other asset-intensive industries, such as energy and rail, throughout Chile.”

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