Rogers installs private 5G at Canada gold mine – plus 5G extension for ‘off-grid’ locals
Rogers Business, the enterprise division of Canadian operator Rogers, has installed a private 5G network at Detour Lake, an open pit mine in northern Ontario belonging to gold producer Kirkland Lake Gold. The private 5G setup uses Rogers’ “full range of spectrum frequency bands” and comprises five new cell towers to provide coverage for the entire site, which covers 80 square kilometres. It offers “full failover backup” for Kirkland Lake Gold, it said.
Meanwhile, the two companies have also deployed a public LTE and 5G network extension along 180 kilometres of Highway 652 between Detour Lake and the town of Cochrane. The extension comprises eight cell towers, and will “close [the] connectivity gap” for local residents. Seven of the eight new cell towers along the route are “primarily” powered by wind and solar energy. The route is is “almost all off-grid”, said Rogers.
Cradlepoint and Ericsson have been engaged, as well, alongside Dell Technologies and Canadian private network specialist Expeto. Detour Lake, the second-largest gold producing mine in Canada, is the first mining operation in Canada to be fully connected over a private 5G network, said Rogers.
A statement said: “The [private] 5G network provides workers with better connectivity, communication, and safety today while enabling a truly scalable network that will power thousands of new solutions. These include tele-remote operations, industrial IoT sensors to provide real-time insight into operations, drones that can deliver supplies to the bottom of the mine, future autonomous haulage vehicles, and exploration work.
“All of these applications will be monitored and managed through a digital dashboard to improve efficiencies and productivity at the site. Private [cellular] networks are the only solution in Canada to bridge public and private cellular networks and truly enable the telepresence, teleoperations and telerobotics… technologies for enterprise and industrial automation use cases.”
The network will be completed by the summer. Kirkland Lake Gold is a low-cost senior gold producer operating in Canada and Australia. It runs the Macassa Mine and Detour Lake Mine in Northern Ontario, and the Fosterville Mine located in the state of Victoria, in Australia.
Tony Makuch, president and chief executive at Kirkland Lake Gold, said: “[Private] 5G provides the stable and reliable service we need as we build the digital mine of the future. Not only does the new network provide an extra layer of connectivity for our employees, it also enables us to drive mining innovation and technology into the future by expanding tele-remote drill operations and research into potential autonomous haul trucks.
“Having a 5G network across [our] remote operations will help create a safer work environment for our employees and contractors… [The] new public 5G [and] LTE network along Highway 652… [will add] reliable connectivity will make travel safer for everyone using the highway and also provide peace of mind for community members who have camps and enjoy the outdoors along the highway corridor.”
Ron McKenzie, president at Rogers Business, said: “We’re thrilled to deliver a first of its kind to Kirkland Lake Gold and the mining industry in Canada by providing a [private] 5G network to improve productivity and worker safety at its site, while building critical wireless connectivity along Highway 652 to improve safety, close connectivity gaps, and support local communities surrounding Detour Lake Mine. The private network will enable mission-critical industrial applications to power the digital mine of the future.”