Nokia wins gold in Lapland with its 5G wireless network

The Agnico Eagle Finland Oy’s Kittilä gold mine in northern Finland has engaged Nokia – working with mobile operator Telia and partner Digita – to deliver a private 5G SA wireless network to support advanced Industry 4.0 use cases to accelerate the digital transformation of the mine.

The Kittilä mine is the largest major producer of gold in Europe and is located 900 kilometers north of Helsinki and 150 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in the Lapland region. The mine achieved commercial production on May 1, 2009, becoming the first Agnico Eagle mine to open outside Canada.

Since open pit mining was completed in 2012, Kittilä has been an underground operation only. It has an expected end of its operations in 2034, and in 2020 it produced 208,125 ounces of gold. It is on track to produce 250,000 ounces in 2021 and the current gold reserves are calculated at 4,067,000 ounces.

The Nokia 5G SA network will support operations above and below ground, reaching depths of up to one kilometer. It will cover a tunnel system to connect people, equipment, sensors, devices and vehicles, while taking advantage of the low latency capabilities of the 5G network. Nokia says the Kittilä mine will benefit from real-time data processing at the network edge, supporting critical Industry 4.0 use cases, such as self-driving vehicles, high-accuracy positioning and group communications, to enhance operational reliability, safety and quality.

The Nokia 5G Wireless Private Network SA, based on the Nokia Modular Private Wireless (MPW) system, will integrate Nokia 5G RAN AirScale base station technology and edge computing capabilities, along with a 5G core based on the Nokia Embedded Mobility Module. The network will be deployed in phases and is expected to be completed in October 2022.

Nokia currently has more than 380 industrial wireless private network customers worldwide, including more than 35 mining customers. The company says its proprietary, industrial-grade wireless technology is ideal for the digital transformation of mining facilities. In particular, she says, mine owners can take advantage of Industry 4.0 applications that enable new levels of automation to better manage fluctuations in demand, while enhancing productivity, operational efficiency and workforce safety.

Tommy Kankkonen, General Manager of the Kittilä Mine, said: “Having already experimented with autonomous remote-controlled machines in recent years, we have chosen to work with Nokia, Telia and Digita to bring capabilities to the next stage of our digital transformation journey. We want to innovate using the latest technology and we will benefit from Nokia 5G SA private network to enhance operational efficiency and support the highest level of security for teams working in the mine.”

Gary Colin, Chief Technology Officer of Telia Finland added: “We are excited to be part of this project for Agnico Eagle, delivering high-performance 5G to transform operations at the Kittilä mine. This publication continues our work with Nokia and Digita to bring private 5G SA wireless networks in Finland to support the country’s growing digital economy.”

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