Ericsson to provide connectivity solution for sustainable mining project

Different companies are making important moves towards sustainability. This reference image shows B2Gold’s off-grid solar-battery hybrid system at the Fekola gold mine in Mali. (Image courtesy of B2Gold).

Telecom company Ericsson announced that it has joined the EU-funded Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems project, a three-year initiative that aims to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity.

Known as NEXGEN SIMS, the $16-million project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer Epiroc, in cooperation with Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska, K+S and OZ Minerals, Mobilaris MCE, AFRY and KGHM Cuprum; LTU Business, Luleå University of Technology and RWTH Aachen University.

The initiative builds on the SIMS project, which ran between 2017 and 2020 and played an important role in improving sustainable mining operations. 

The plan for this latest iteration is for it to cover advances in smart mining and mineworker-of-the-future use cases, develop autonomous mine inspection technology to enhance personnel safety and boost productivity, cost-efficiency and sustainability.

Ericsson’s role in the program will be to provide its Dedicated Networks solution, which offers on-site connectivity. The company also plans to support the positioning for electric mining equipment, autonomous material handling, and cross-machine fleet control.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for global greenhouse gas emissions to be halved by 2030, reaching net-zero before 2050,” Thomas Norén, head of Dedicated Networks at Ericsson, said in a media statement. “This goes across all sectors. Ericsson welcomes the opportunity to support dedicated projects to develop carbon-free mining processes to directly reduce operational emissions in the mining sector while creating a safer and more autonomous mining process.”

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