Ericsson has joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.
Comprising mining companies, equipment manufacturers, tech companies and universities, NEXGEN SIMS was launched on May 1. The project will pursue collaborative partnerships across new technologies, methods and processes to increase the efficiency and sustainability of mining operations globally.
Ericsson Dedicated Networks solutions will feature prominently in the consortium. The solutions provide optimal on-site connectivity and supporting positioning for electric mining equipment, autonomous material handling, cross-machine fleet control and more.
NEXGEN SIMS builds on the successful SIMS project, which ran between 2017 and 2020 and played an important role in improving sustainable mining operations. The latest iteration of the project will 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.
Thomas Norén, Head of Dedicated Networks, Ericsson, commented: “Our Ericsson Dedicated Networks solutions bring reliable connectivity and safety to the mines. This in turn enables the implementation of new use-cases that rely on it and that are not possible to realize with legacy mine networks today.”
He added: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for global greenhouse gas emissions to be halved by 2030, reaching net-zero before 2050. 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.”
The full list of project partners is: Ericsson, 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.