Peñasquito and Peñoles to Develop IoT Network
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Peñasquito and Peñoles to Develop IoT Network

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/16/2023 - 15:09

Peñasquito and Peñoles have been authorized to use radio frequencies and develop their Internet of Things (IoT) network. The companies aim to optimize their processes and enhance safety for mine workers. Experts in the industry have agreed that the sector could be developed further through digitalization and become more integrated as well as responsible by doing so. 

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (ITF) enabled the use of different frequencies in the bandwidths of 700MHz and 2.4GHz, among the most suitable to build LTE networks with the capacity and coverage needed for mining operations.

In November 2021, Minera Peñasquito requested the possibility of using radio frequencies for its operations in Mazapil, Zacatecas. The authorities approved the companies to utilize the 703-748 MHz and the 758-803 MHz bandwidths, as well as 2360-2400 MHz.

“Minera Peñasquito has the goal to comply with its responsibility to implement a completely digitalized mine to introduce processes based on IoT and automate part of its mining processes. The company seeks to implement an LTE network, which connected to the LAN network will offer a solution to specific needs,” said the ITF.

Peñoles Tecnología requested the permit to use the bandwidths in July 2022 striving to control heavy machinery remotely. Studies have shown that productivity can increase by 17.2% in an open-pit scenario if this remote operation is achieved. This result reflects positively on working hours, production as well as income and utility savings.

Peñoles said its purpose is to implement this technology at the Velardeña Mine in Cuencamé, Durango. The IFT said that it authorized the permits to use the frequencies for the next five years. 

Many mines still lack the communications infrastructure to support the innovation that automated mining operations demand. However, the need to enhance and implement these technologies is becoming increasingly relevant for mines. Technologies such as IoT or 5G can provide opportunities to the sector, enhancing automation and remote operations that will improve coverage, lower latency and enable higher reliability at every stage of the mining operation.

Communication stability has shifted from a trend to a necessity, especially in underground mining, where internet connections play a key role both in production and safety. The development of higher bandwidth connections is necessary to continue to keep up with the latest technological developments, as technologies such as Wi-Fi or Wi-Max do not function well underground. 

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