Home » South Africa’s New Smart Mine to Boost 5G Connectivity and Innovation 

South Africa’s New Smart Mine to Boost 5G Connectivity and Innovation 

A partnership between Menar, MTN and Huawei will bring 5G technology to a new smart mine in South Africa, boosting connectivity and innovation.

by Motoni Olodun

South Africa is set to witness a new era of smart mining as a partnership between a private investment company, a telecommunications group and a technology giant paves the way for a 5G-powered mine in Mpumalanga.

The partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) this week to explore a three-phased 5G connectivity installation project at the Gugulethu colliery, a newly developed mine owned by Menar subsidiary Canyon Coal.

The project aims to enhance communication, safety, productivity and sustainability at the mine site, using Huawei’s technological infrastructure and MTN’s wireless network. The mine is expected to start producing in early 2024.

This is the second operation under the Menar umbrella to adopt 5G technology, following the successful implementation of a 5G pilot at the Phalanndwa colliery, also in Mpumalanga, in 2022. The pilot reported improvements in real-time monitoring, data analysis and automation.

Menar chief innovation officer Cleavon Moothoosamy said the company wanted to be at the forefront of mining innovation and that the partnership was a bold step towards a future where technology and connectivity redefine the mining landscape.

MTN chief business enterprise officer Tumi Chamayou said the partnership would enable the company to offer state-of-the-art, faster and seamless connectivity to its customers, using its world-class network and systems.

Huawei MTN KAD account director Jason Shao said 5G had proved very successful in improving operational efficiency and mine safety, as well as supporting artificial intelligence-based real-time analytics.

The MoU comes at a time when South Africa’s mining industry is undergoing a digital transformation, driven by the need to reduce costs, increase safety and environmental performance, and remain competitive in the global market.

According to a report by IDC, 86% of mining companies in South Africa plan to invest in wireless infrastructure in the next 18 months, with most naming 5G as their priority. The report also found that the mining industry contributed 219.5 billion rand (roughly 12.8 billion U.S. dollars) to the country’s GDP in 2021, making it a vital sector for the economy.

The adoption of 5G technology in the mining industry is expected to unlock new opportunities for innovation, efficiency and sustainability, as well as create new jobs and skills for the workforce.

Source: Mining Weekly

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