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Chile’s mining industry has reached a milestone after 4G and 5G network tests at two mines in Antofagasta and Atacama regions concluded successfully.
The 4G test was streamlined live on Tuesday to reporters and took place at Johannesburg-based Gold Fields' Salares Norte asset in Atacama region. Swiss technology provider ABB, Nokia and Claro could establish a satellite link to ABB's Santiago headquarters where a doctor conducted a real-time medical examination on an employee based at Salares Norte.
In a second stage, an ABB specialist in Switzerland oversaw equipment installation at Salares Norte after which Gold Fields executives supervised construction of a processing plant by projecting its design in the field using virtual reality devices.
Luis Rivera, Gold Fields executive VP for the Americas, recently said in an interview with BNamericas that Salares Norte is set to become fully digitized and will be controlled from Santiago.
State miner Codelco jointly with Nokia and PSINet tested a 5G connection between its integrated operation center in Santiago and Radomiro Tomic mine in Antofagasta region, according to a press release.
According to mining minister Baldo Prokurica, the 5G network will increase the facility’s internet speed tenfold, allowing to capture 100 times more data and improve big data applications.
Codelco has been ramping up its digital transformation strategy since 2019, creating a technology division focused on team effort and developing an understanding of butterfly effects.
Apart from Santiago, the miner also has integrated operation centers at its Chuquicamata, Andina, Ministro Hales, and El Teniente mines.
The miner increased copper production by 4% at the El Teniente, Chuquicamata and Andina processing facilities using Internet of Things and applying mathematical models. The plan is to extend the approach to all divisions within three years.