Chile launches its first 5G pilot in mining

The initiative was developed in the “Radomiro Tomic Division”, where a high definition camera was installed, which is connected to a 5G network and captures images of the crushing area, allowing immediate processing of logistics data such as waiting times and material download.

The ministries of Transport and Telecommunications, and Mining, together with the National Copper Corporation (CODELCO), Nokia and PSINet presented this morning the first 5G pilot in mining in the country in the new “Integrated Strategic Operations Center” (CIO-E ) of the state-owned mining company, a place located on the 8th floor of the Headquarters, where advanced technology systems are capable of interpreting images from a distance, and providing data for subsequent analysis and optimization of different processes.

This initiative, for which it was installed in the primary crusher – an area where all trucks dump the material they bring from the pit to reduce its size so that it can be moved through the conveyor belt to the stacker – of the “Radomiro Tomic Division” a 5G antenna and a high-definition camera with a modem suitable for this technology, confirmed the existence of higher levels of transmission speed compared to other systems. In fact, it allowed the CIO-E to receive all the information wirelessly and in real time, that is, the patents of the trucks, the operator in charge, the time each unit takes to carry out its task and the waiting periods. of the rest of trucks, among other things.

“5G, thanks to its characteristics such as low latency and high speed, will allow mass communication between devices and therefore, will promote the existence of processes that will benefit both people and all productive sectors in the country. We are working to facilitate the conditions so that different industries can learn about this technology closely so that they can adopt it when it is available. The development of 5G will contribute to Chile’s productivity, in addition to improving people’s quality of life through the development of applications such as telemedicine, the Internet of Things and distance education, among other benefits ”, stated the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Gloria Hutt.

For his part, the Minister of Mining, Baldo Prokurica, indicated that “this 5G connection in Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic division is a historic milestone for Chilean mining, because it means that the country’s main industry opens up to the new world of mining. artificial intelligence, which will allow faster access to data and perform analysis to improve processes, increase productivity, and move towards a safer activity ”.

In turn, the Undersecretary of Telecommunications, Pamela Gidi, said that “one of the main objectives of our Government is that telecommunications improve people’s quality of life and serve as an enabler for the development of all productive sectors in the country. In this sense, we are promoting various 5G pilots, such as the one today, within the framework of the ‘5G Observatory’, an initiative that we are developing together with the IDB. This in such a way that once the deployment of this technology is carried out, industries as important as mining, are already in a position to begin to implement it within their production processes quickly and easily ”.

Likewise, the Undersecretary of Mining, Iván Cheuquelaf, said that “we are very happy for this 5G pilot in the state company Codelco since it is a concrete fact to move towards what we are proposing in the National Mining Policy 2050, that is, these new technologies are enabling us to achieve the main objective, which is sustainable development and to move towards mining 4.0 ”.

Meanwhile, the vice president of Technology and Business Process Automation of Codelco, Álvaro García, pointed out that “being the protagonists of the first 5G pilot applied to mining is fully in line with the accelerated adoption of technologies that we have implemented since 2019 as one one of the main enablers of Codelco’s current digital transformation, which also implies a pioneering vision against the incorporation of other trends such as advanced analytics and the automation of the processes of our operations ”.

On the other hand, the Head of Nokia Enterprise for Latin America, Marcelo Entreconti, specified that “Nokia is very proud to be part of this 5G pilot project alongside Subtel and Codelco. Bringing our 5G network and automation solutions to a mine in Chile is a milestone not only for the mining sector, it is a real example of the benefits that 5G technology can bring to all industrial sectors and is essential for industries to achieve your digital transformation goals. Nokia is committed to this transformation ”.

Finally, for the general manager of PSINet, Patricio Morales, this event marks a milestone in the mining industry, since “it confirms that it is possible to make decisions in real time based on data for the different tasks and the control of different processes of remotely taking advantage of lower latency and high speed. This will improve the operating conditions of a mining company, in 5 milestones that are fundamental; safety, operation, productivity, artificial vision and the human factor ”.

Impact of 5G in Chile and in the mining sector

Traditional mining sites have always had connectivity problems due to their location and the characteristics of their facilities, however, 5G will now allow the deployment of communication networks within these sites, making them more efficient and safe.

In this way, it will be possible to make use of autonomous vehicles and remote machinery, among other things, which will allow processes that involve certain risks to be carried out by operators remotely, thus considerably reducing accident rates. Likewise, there will be an improvement in communication times between the operators who are both inside and outside the works, it will also be possible to know in real time the conditions of the same (temperature, humidity, gas, suspended material and landslides, etc. ). On the other hand, the processing and storage of data on a large scale and in less time will be possible due to the higher speed of the new networks.

However, according to a study presented by Nokia and Omdia in August this year, the deployment of 5G networks will trigger the digital transformation and productivity in Chile, helping the country overcome the economic crisis generated by the pandemic more quickly. of Covid-19.

In this sense, the report indicates that 5G will generate an economic impact of USD $ 207 billion in Chile by the year 2035, a figure that will be distributed among several sectors, among which Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) stand out. ) with USD $ 41 billion, services with USD $ 39 billion, manufacturing with USD $ 29 billion, mining with USD $ 23 billion, construction with USD $ 15 billion and trade with USD $ 10 billion, among others.

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