Gugulethu latest South African mine to get 5G
Gugulethu, a recently established coal mine in South Africa, will integrate 5G technology into its operations as a result of a collaboration between Huawei, Menar, and MTN.
This comes as Gugulethu, in eastern Mpumalanga, gets closer to beginning production in early 2024.
Canyon Coal, a subsidiary of the private investment firm Menar, manages Gugulethu (which translates as "out treasure" in vernacular).
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked in Cape Town by Menar, mobile network operator MTN, and technology giant Huawei will allow the mine to install private 5G technology on its premises.
Menar's chief innovation officer, Cleavon Moothoosamy, stated that the MOU represents the company's commitment to embracing technology throughout 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," Moothoosamy added.
Following the signing of the MOU, the parties concerned are looking forward to further discussions, including the possibility of launching a three-phased project to install 5G connectivity on the mine campus and shafts, among other things.
"Huawei's technological infrastructure serves as the backbone of this venture and could enable us to leverage cutting-edge solutions to drive productivity and sustainable practises within our operations," he said.
MTN stated that it is happy to be taking the lead on the project by utilising its network and systems to support the growth and sustainability of its enterprise customers in South Africa, where 5G technology is gradually being adopted.
Tumi Chamayou, MTN's chief business enterprise officer, remarked that the network investment positions the operator to provide faster network access to its consumers.
Gugulethu is the Menar stable's second mine to partner with MTN and Huawei.
Canyon Coal's Phalanndwa Colliery in Mpumalanga reached an agreement in December 2022 that will see the mine embrace 5G technology.
"Importantly, 5G supports AI-based real-time analytics, enabling data-driven decision making, which is critical in the mining environment," said Jason Shao, Account Director at Huawei MTN KAD.