by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTHERN Africa’s first 5G-enabled metal mine is to be built, after a partnership between some mining firms, a telecommunications giant and a global technology provider.
Nkwe Platinum Limited and South Africa Zijin Platinum (Pty) Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of multinational mining company, the Zijin Mining Group, have partnered with MTN and Huawei to sign a collaboration agreement to build the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine in Limpopo, South Africa.
MTN and Huawei are to provide 5G-based ICT solutions for the smart mining requirements including high-speed 5G broadband access and smart mining solutions like vehicle remote control, Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise digital transformation.
Once complete, the mine will mark a significant step forward in the digital transformation of the local mining industry.
It will effectively demonstrate how a number of emerging technologies can be combined with 5G to improve functions across the mine.
Fan Zhiyu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nkwe Platinum, said for more than 20 years, the Zijin Mining Group had regarded scientific and technological innovation as its primary driving force.
It has become one of the few multinational mining companies in the world to be equipped with autonomous system technology and engineering management capabilities, with a well-established scientific research system and practice platform.
Zhiyu said at the mine launch in 2021, the company stated that it would build the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine into a project with advanced technology, solid safety and environmental protection practices.
“The adoption of this 5G smart mining solution will certainly enable the Zijin Mining Group to deliver on that promise, and to establish the mine’s technology-led global competitiveness,” he added.
Zhiyu explained the development of metal minerals was laborious and technical work.
“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 partnership is important as South Africa looks to remain competitive in the global mineral and resources space.
The country is the world’s top platinum producer and mining accounts for eight percent of South African gross domestic product.
Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Officer at MTN Business, disclosed the mobile operator had invested over R50 billion in modernising its network for the past five years, hence this investment had put MTN in a greater position to offer cutting edge, faster and seamless connectivity.
“The partnership will see all parties involved reaping the benefits of our best network,” said Matandela.
He said MTN Business was excited to play a leading role in this space by using its network and systems to promote the growth and sustainability of its enterprise customers.
“5G technology is a game changer that will transform old mining processes,” Matandela said.
This project coincides with a critical period of digital transformation in Africa’s mining industry.
“Digital transformation has become a global trend across numerous industries, and 5G has undoubtedly accelerated this,” said Peng Song, President of Huawei Global Carrier Marketing and Solution.
Huawei is currently bringing its 5G-based ICT solutions into the mining industry and building a cross-industry ecosystem.
– CAJ News