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Ambra Solutions deploys 5G-ready LTE network at Canadian mine

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

Ambra Solutions has deployed a 5G-ready LTE network at Tacora Resources’ Scully iron ore mine in Labrador, Canada. The development has enabled the mine’s new fleet dispatch system.

Fleet dispatch system

The installation makes the mine’s fleet dispatch system one of the first to run fully on an LTE network in Canada. It is also one of the first opencast LTE deployments outside of Australia, which pioneered LTE in mining when a network was put into Rio Tinto's West Angelas iron ore mine in the Pilbara region in 2012.

LTE technology and deployment

The project is leveraging licensed band LTE technology to ensure interference-free wireless communication. Having designed, configured and tested it offsite, the installation of the main infrastructure was complete within 5 days onsite.

Two transmission sites -- lower investment and minimal maintenance

According to a report undertaken by a WiFi mesh manufacturer, covering the opencast area of the mining site with mesh WiFi would have taken more than 20 access points to support the fleet management system. The robust LTE network was designed to ensure minimal maintenance with only 2 fixed transmission sites.

The LTE solution will help increase efficiency by eliminating the need for moving trailers during blasting. Moreover, the cost of deploying LTE is much lower than using a mesh WiFi technology. The lower price and the choice of LTE end devices (phones, sensors, modems) also makes this solution advantageous over WiFi based technologies. The LTE network is entirely managed onsite and was configured for Tacora's needs.

10x the coverage required -- enabling additional applications

Propagation of the private LTE network was required for the pit areas, which represent 15 km2. Since the LTE technology is powerful, the actual coverage is extended far beyond the pit. The two LTE transmission sites allow for more than 150 km2 of coverage, which represents more than 10 times the area being mined.

The network will enable new IoT applications to monitor pumping stations and use low power Cat-M1 and NB-IoT sensors at multiple locations. Finally, the LTE network can be used to provide VoLTE and Push-to-Talk communication to all employees eliminating the need of a separate VHF or UHF system.

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Iron ore mining news Canadian mining news