South Africa getting its first 5G smart mine

Mining companies Nkwe Platinum and South Africa Zijin Platinum have partnered with MTN and Huawei to launch South Africa’s first 5G-enabled smart metal mine.

As part of the agreement, MTN and Huawei will provide 5G-based ICT solutions for smart mining requirements at the Garatau platinum mine in Limpopo.

The high-speed 5G broadband access will enable vehicle remote control, IoT communication, and enterprise digital transformation.

The parties said the initiative would also help demonstrate how several emerging technologies can be combined with 5G to improve functions across the mine.

“This kind of advancement will become increasingly important as South Africa looks to remain competitive in the global mineral and resources space,” they said.

South Africa is the world’s biggest platinum producer, and mining accounts for 8% of the country’s growth domestic product.

Managing director and CEO of Nkwe Platinum Limited, Fan Zhiyu, said the 5G smart mining setup would enable advanced technology and ensure solid safety and environmental protection practices.

“The development of metal minerals is laborious and technical work,” Zhiyu explained.

“Therefore, the Zijin Mining Group regards informatisation and intelligence as key strategic directions and actively explores technical solutions that can improve the safety, process automation, and benefits of mining.”

“The collaboration with MTN and Huawei will help the Zijin Mining Group build its first high-tech and safe overseas smart mine, brimming with socio-economic value, from the initial stage of construction.”

This drone image shows the planned location of the Garatau platinum mine in Limpopo.

MTN Business chief enterprise officer Wanda Matandela said 5G technology was a game-changer for transforming old mining processes.

Huawei Global Carrier marketing and solution president, Peng Song, said 5G gas undoubtedly accelerated digital transformation across numerous industries.

“We feel very excited to work with Zijin and MTN to open Southern Africa’s first 5G metal smart mine.”

“Huawei is currently bringing its 5G-based ICT solutions into the mining industry and building a cross-industry ecosystem to continuously improve network connectivity to help telcos maximise network value, and also help the mining industry build safe and smart mining projects through the capabilities of 5G to Business,” Song said.

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South Africa getting its first 5G smart mine