Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, along with Nokia have successfully completed testing of a private LTE/5G-ready wireless network deployed in one of the mines of the Skalisty nickel-copper-PGM mining enterprise at a depth of 875 m. The partners in this project were the telecom operator Tele2, Qualcomm and the company SPBEK-Mining.
Nornickel’s private wireless network was piloted simultaneously in 5G and LTE bands to support mission-critical and business-critical functions, such as reliable and secure voice and data communications, video surveillance, remote management of machinery through video channels, communications between production sites and the control centre, plus many others. The pilot network was deployed at the Skalisty mine at a depth of 875 m on the Nokia industrial-grade private wireless connected digital mine solution, including 4.9G/LTE and 5G core hardware and software, Flexi Zone Micro LTE and Nokia AirScale 5G base stations plus a special solution for mission-critical group communications.
The test confirmed that Nokia’s private LTE/5G-ready technologies can reliably support wireless broadband communication in a real-life underground mining environment. The results proved the feasibility and efficiency of a dedicated 4.9G/5G network operating as a unified data transfer environment for existing Nornickel platforms, as well as new digital products with different traffic profiles. A 5G supporting Compal laptop based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G computing platform and Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, as well as a Motorola edge+ smartphone based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform were used for the tests.
The company said: “Deployment of industrial-grade LTE and 5G private wireless networks opens new opportunities in the future for Nornickel in the areas of robotics, remote and autonomous operations, end-to-end transport automation, analytics and security to enable a revolutionary breakthrough in digital transformation for the mining industry.”
Liana Ermishina, Director of the Information Technology Department of Nornickel: “Today the world is closely looking at the potential usage of 5G networks in the industrial segment, and our company is no exception. The level of industrial automation at the Nornickel mines is constantly increasing, innovative systems and technologies are being introduced, driving further requirements for wireless data transmission networks. We are considering the possibility to use LTE and later 5G technologies underground, because these networks are best suited, first of all, to improve safety measures in the production process, as well as to implement advanced digitalisation scenarios, such as autonomous mining and remote control of machinery.”
Demetrio Russo, Vice President, Nokia Eastern Europe: “We are happy to partner with Nornickel on this project, which provides critical infrastructure for the development of digital technologies at Nornickel’s enterprises. Nokia’s 5G solutions are becoming more in demand in the enterprise market, with the share of enterprise customers in Nokia 5G deals reaching 12%. Nokia has 260 private wireless enterprise customers worldwide, of which more than 40 engagements are 5G. Nokia has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to support many private wireless network deployment scenarios across various industries. And we look forward to working with multiple Russian enterprises to help enable their digital transformation.”
Alexey Telkov, Deputy General Director for Technical Infrastructure of Tele2: “Private networks for enterprises built on Private LTE model are one of the most promising products in the telecom market. The technical solutions that we are ready to use to deploy such networks are in the status of 5G-ready. We believe that they will be in demand by industrial customers in the nearest future. For Tele2, as an operator that is actively exploring the topic of Private LTE, it is important to continue testing, bringing us closer to the mass distribution of such solutions. The project implemented with our partners helps us to better understand our customers’ requirements.”
A Qualcomm spokesman said: “The use of 5G mmWave spectrum opens up a wide range of new opportunities in all stages of mining. Ultra-fast data rates to smartphones and computers powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets are critical to both improving workplace safety and increasing efficiency by instantly transferring information directly to corporate cloud storage.”