Autonomous BELAZ haulers and a 5G system by Zyfra and Huawei are being trialed at a surface coal mine in Russia. (Photo: Zyfra)

An open-pit  mine operated by the Siberian Coal & Energy Co. (SUEK) in Khakassia, Russia, is trialing a 5G connectivity and autonomous hauler system developed by Zyfra and Huawei.

The trial involves a fleet of 130-ton BELAZ-7513R autonomous mining trucks and a 1.5-km wireless 5G network built on Huawei equipment. Two 5G transceiver stations operate in standalone mode. The mine site channel operates at 100 MHz.

The trial is videoed by high-resolution cameras along the perimeter. Thus far, the network demonstrated its reliability at supporting robotic equipment in open pit mines, Zyfra reported. “Robotic trucks allow for a significant increase in freight transport production rates, up to 30%, and an increase in the number of movements per shift, by approximately 20%,” Pavel Rastopshin, managing director, Zyfra, said.

It is the first such trial in Russia, SUEK said. “Thanks to new generation network resources from Beeline and Huawei, we are currently reaching such unmanned machines production rates that are not possible with humans alone,” Dmitry Sizemov, deputy director of information technology, SUEK, said. “The possibility of running robotic automation at other enterprises is currently being discussed at SUEK.”

The miner is considering testing similar 5G solutions at the Chernogorsky open-pit mine in Chernogorsk, Khakassia.

China’s Huawei said its 5G technologies will allow mining to be done by robots, which will turn mining jobs into desk jobs. “Having witnessed cases of a hologram call, remote operations and now remote mining, we believe that 5G will soon be available for all of us and for every industry,” Aiden U, CEO of Huawei Eurasia.

The pilot project will last for several weeks, Zyfra reported.

SUEK is a top-5 global coal exporter and sells coal in 48 countries.