Published On: 22 May, 2023Categories: News

Increasing adoption of digitisation in mining, adoption of sustainability standards to improve productivity and profitability, and growing use of artificial intelligence in operational activities are key factors driving 5G adoption in the mining market.

Valued at US$2.15-billion in 2023, the global 5G adoption in mining market looks set to grow over the coming years. According to a market report by Arizton, provider of comprehensive market research reports, advisory and consulting services, there is growing acceptance for 5G adoption technology in mining.

With the increasing benefits and emerging technologies, mining industries have connected their services and products with technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, cloud computing, augmented reality and virtual reality, cybersecurity, and others. AI’s popularity is increasing because it helps to deliver better results – generating daily data, resulting in a reduction in manual errors.

Emerging 5G networks feature lower latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth compared to 4G and worldwide use of 5G in mining has been on the rise, with Cisco, Hitachi Energy and Huawei being key players. Huawei recently announced a partnership with Debswana to launch the world’s first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine project in Botswana.

Last year, Nkwe Platinum and South Africa Zijin Platinum, wholly-owned subsidiaries of multinational Zijin Mining Group, joined hands with MTN and Huawei through a collaboration agreement to build the Southern Africa region’s first 5G-enabled smart metal mine. In the deal, MTN and Huawei will provide 5G-based ICT solutions for the smart mining requirements, including not only high-speed 5G broadband access, but also smart mining solutions like vehicle remote control, IOT and enterprise digital transformation. Once complete, the project will mark a significant step forward in the digital transformation of the local mining industry.

There is no doubt that the development of connectivity infrastructure and improvement in connectivity is expected to boost the demand for 5G networks across the mining sector. The high bandwidth can easily contribute to and improve the operations in the sector by enabling their capacity. Moreover, the mining industry operates in various remote locations, where connectivity is a barrier, and where 5G certainly comes in handy.

The emergence of 5G and Software Defined Networking in Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) encourages mining companies to shift to this network. While 5G connectivity provides low latency and high-speed connectivity, SD-WAN safely transfers the data between different centres, remote units, and cloud environments – thus optimising efficiency and resolving potential data security problems.

Publication: Mining Review Africa

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