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Partnership paves way for new smart mine

16th November 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Private investment company Menar, telecommunications group MTN and technology giant Huawei have once again teamed up to bring fifth-generation (5G) technology to a newly developed mine in Mpumalanga.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) this week unlocks further discussions around a potential three-phased 5G connectivity installation project on the mine campus and shafts, besides others, of Menar subsidiary Canyon Coal’s Gugulethu colliery.

“The MoU symbolises the company’s drive to embrace technology across its operations. 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,” said Menar chief innovation officer Cleavon Moothoosamy.

The mine, which is expected to start producing in early 2024, is the second operation under the Menar umbrella to form a partnership with MTN and Huawei to adopt 5G technology.

In December 2022, Canyon Coal’s Phalanndwa colliery, also in Mpumalanga, signed an agreement with the parties, with the team reporting improvements in communication, safety and real-time monitoring.

“Menar is looking forward to seeing Gugulethu achieve the same milestone upon the conclusion of a formal commercial agreement with MTN and Huawei,” he said.

Through MTN, the operation aims to enhance communication onsite, ensuring people’s safety and well-being and operational efficiency, while Huawei's technological infrastructure serves as the backbone and could enable the mine to leverage cutting-edge solutions to drive productivity and sustainable practices within the operations.

“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,” added MTN chief business enterprise officer Tumi Chamayou.

“Our bold investment toward network puts MTN in a greater position to offer state-of-the-art, faster and seamless connectivity to its customers. The partnership will see all parties involved reaping the benefits of our best network.”

Huawei MTN KAD account director Jason Shao concluded that 5G had proved very successful in improving operational efficiency and mine safety.

“Importantly, 5G supports artificial intelligence-based real-time analytics, thus enabling data-driven decision-making which is critical in the mining environment.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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