Gold miner Newcrest has partnered with Ericsson and Telstra Purple to deploy a private 4G LTE and 5G trial network for the underground operations of its Cadia Valley operations in New South Wales.

newcretcadiaTesting will begin in the coming months and will assess the potential of data and video delivery to support smarter, safer and more sustainable mines.

The trio of companies have already worked together to boost communications coverage and performance with private 4G LTE at the Lihir operations in Papua New Guinea as well as for surface operations at Cadia Valley.

Under the trial plan, Ericsson’s Private 5G (EP5G) solution for Industry 4.0 enterprises will be used to assess different cellular approaches for coverage and capacity needs and deployment economics. Various 4G and 5G radio types, massive- and multi-user MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) advanced antenna systems for high density and high-capacity connectivity requirements will be used, and Uplink Booster technology derived from custom-made Ericsson Silicon system-on-a-chip 5G processors will be there to increase uplink signal strength and data throughput.

“In the ongoing quest for productivity, efficiency and safety, Newcrest must use every tool at our disposal to boost performance at site while continuing to ensure that everyone at our mines gets home safely at the end of the day,” Cadia Valley General Manager Aaron Brannigan said, adding the trial will help it with underground automation, its Connected Worker strategy and Cadia’s future growth.

Ericsson head of Australia and New Zealand Emilio Romeo added: “5G connectivity will be instrumental in enabling advanced teleremote and autonomous technologies, which are integral to industries such as mining. We’re delighted to be working with Newcrest and Telstra Purple to trial Ericsson’s 4G LTE and 5G solutions, and enable Newcrest to develop know-how on how to best deploy them underground.”