Swedish mining firm Boliden joins NorthStar 5G program – RCR Wireless News

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Boliden said it has been working to digitize and automate its mining operations in order to increase productivity and safety

Boliden, a Swedish multinational metals, mining and smelting company, has joined the NorthStar 5G innovation program launched by Ericsson and Telia last year.

Under this program, Boliden, Ericsson and Telia are currently upgrading the existing private 5G network in Boliden’s mine in Kankberg, northern Sweden, to facilitate trials of remote-controlled and self-driving vehicles and machines in harsh environments.

The main goal of this project is to understand the requirements for capacity, stability and security that are placed on a 5G network when it is used to support advanced mining operations up to 750 meters underground, Telia said.

The Swedish mining company has been working to digitize and automate its mining operations in order to increase productivity and safety. The firm is already using remotely controlled and autonomous vehicles and drilling machines.

Magnus Leonhardt, head of strategy and innovation for Telia Sweden’s B2B business, said: “Telia, Ericsson and Boliden have had a close collaboration for many years, and together built the world’s first underground 5G network. Our work together has come a long way and our focus is now on connecting vehicles, equipment and people in the mine to the 5G network and understanding what the requirements on the network are in order to be able to roll it out more broadly in a production environment.”

Under this initiative, the private 5G network at Boliden’s mine in Kankberg will be modernized and expanded, and then connected to the specially developed innovation network used in the NorthStar program. With this upgrade, the mining company will gain access to new technical capabilities such as positioning, network slicing and edge computing.

“For us, this investment is about stress-testing 5G and exploring new functions in the 5G network, such as being able to prioritize data traffic between different vehicles and machines in the mine. This will ensure that everything connected to the network will have the exact capacity, stability and security that it requires. This is important as digitization is progressing rapidly and we are using increasingly advanced connected equipment in the mine, which places greater demands on the network,” said Stefan Castehav, senior development engineer at Boliden.

Telia has already delivered a complete communication and IT services solution to Boliden, including a private 5G-ready mobile network deployed at Sweden’s largest copper mine in Aitik.

Founded by Telia and Ericsson, NorthStar is a 5G innovation program for industrial enterprises, for the development and implementation of digital solutions. Apart from the aspect of 5G technology, the program brings together experts and specialists from Telia, Ericsson and its customers and partners from various industry fields.

Technically, the NorthStar innovation network consists of a new 5G core network that is integrated with Telia Sweden’s existing public 5G network, which currently covers more than 90% of the population.

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