by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE launch of a 5G-connected coal mine operation in South Africa is a major step toward digital transformation of the coal industry.
Huawei, MTN, Minetec Smart Mining and Phalanndwa Colliery have launched the operation.
This collaboration, at Canyon Coal’s Phalanndwa Colliery, sees Huawei and MTN provide an advanced 5G solution to ensure guaranteed connectivity within the mine and plant area, in the initial stage.
The mine is taking the lead in combining digital applications with 5G, achieving the first trial use of 5G applications of mining solutions in South Africa, leading the digital transformation of the mining industry.
“Phalanndwa Colliery offers the perfect combination of the right technology with the right scenario, where ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency of 5G allows real-time communication among the mine workers,” said Fortune Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei’s South Africa Carrier Business.
“The deployment of more application scenarios, promises incredible changes will be happening in the Phalanndwa Colliery. These include proximity detection system (PDS), vehicle detection, tracking system and wireless video surveillance,” he added.
The systems will reduce the occurrence of accidents while protecting workers from being harmed by trucks.
Furthermore, they will be able to monitor the movement trajectory and status of trucks in real time to shorten downtime.
Experts believe this kind of advancement will become increasingly 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 the mining industry accounts for 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Wanda Matandela, Chief Commercial Operations Officer of MTN, said as MTN moves from being a tel-co to a tech-co, it had a significant role to play in the roll out of groundbreaking technology.
“We are an ecosystem partner and infrastructure provider,” the executive explained.
“The mining company and MTN have established an in-depth strategic partnership and will cooperate closely to build a solid foundation for digital transformation to take the mining industry forward,” Matandela said.
Kgotso Mongalo, General Manager of Phalanndwa said, practising responsible mining and looking after the safety of the mine and miners are the primary goals.
“This switch to 5G and real time monitoring of both staff and equipment will allow for greater levels of both efficiency and safety,” Mongalo said.
Minetec, which provides proactive, dynamic, new generation solutions within the mining sector, is making the 5G technology capacity a reality on the Phalanndwa Mine.
5G technology allows for real time notifications of any technical problems within the operation, monitoring vehicle movements, engine health and fuel levels, for example.
“With the introduction of 5G connectivity to the mine, business disruption can be avoided and can become more sustainable and profitable,” said Minetec’s Chief Operations Officer, Davut Isik.
Huawei believes this 5G smart coal in South Africa will definitely be a milestone in accelerating the local coal mining industry’s digital transformation.
Huawei SA Carrier Business CEO, Fortune Wang, said further introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Internet of Things, (IoT) cutting-edge technologies would be key enablers of different vertical industries, including mining.
“We have seen successes in China, where these technology ecosystems are already maturing,” Wang said.
5G is the fifth generation mobile network.
– CAJ News