Mpumalanga mines set pace for 5G adoption
An agreement between Huawei, MTN and Menar will see Gugulethu Colliery integrate 5G technology into its operations.
Yesterday, the firms signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the sidelines of Africa Tech Festival 2023 in Cape Town, marking the first step in implementing 5G at the Gugulethu mine.
The MOU entails the possibility of rolling out a three-phased project to install 5G connectivity on the mine campus and shafts.
Through the telecoms technology, the Gugulethu operation aims to enhance communication onsite, to improve operational efficiency and mine safety.
Menar chief innovation officer Cleavon Moothoosamy says: “We want to be at the forefront of mining innovation, and this partnership is a bold step towards a future where technology and connectivity redefine the mining landscape.
“Huawei's technological infrastructure serves as the backbone of this venture and could enable us to leverage cutting-edge solutions to drive productivity and sustainable practices within our operations.”
Located between Davel and Hendrina in Mpumalanga, Gugulethu Colliery is managed through Canyon Coal, a subsidiary of Menar. It is set to start producing in early 2024.
Through the MOU, Gugulethu becomes the second mine under the Menar stable to form a partnership with MTN and Huawei. In December 2022, Canyon Coal’s Phalanndwa Colliery – also based in Mpumalanga – signed an agreement that saw the mine adopt 5G technology.
Tumi Chamayou, chief business enterprise officer at MTN SA, comments: “5G technology is increasingly being adopted in South Africa. At MTN, we are excited to be playing a leading role in this space by using our world-class network and systems to promote the growth and sustainability of our enterprise customers.”
Speaking at the MOU signing, Huawei MTN account director Jason Shao said: “5G supports artificial intelligence-based real-time analytics, thus enabling data-driven decision-making, which is critical in the mining environment.”
According to Moothoosamy, Menar looks forward to seeing Gugulethu achieve the same milestone upon the conclusion of a formal commercial agreement with MTN and Huawei.