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The MMP and Huawei signed an MoU that allows the MCSA, through the Precinct and Huawei, to explore the possibilities of achieving underground communications in conventional mines.

Undertaken as part of the Precinct’s RTIMS research programme, the work planned in terms of the MoU seeks to combine old legacy communications technology with new technology such as Wi-Fi 6 and to test potential solutions underground.

Planning that will enable research teams to define and test various scenarios at a suitable mine in South Africa is also underway.

Precinct Programme Manager, Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe, says: “With all these shiny new technologies available to us, it can be easy to lose focus on what is really important to a mining company when embarking on digitalisation. Partners need to really look at what difference these technologies are going to make in moving crucial benchmarks forward. Ask yourself: How is this technology going to help a mine make progress in its quest for zero harm or how is it going to help give them that extra one metre advance per shift?”.

This is what attracted us to Huawei as a partner – their willingness to look at solutions that others weren’t interested in pursuing and their mindset that said: ‘give us a problem and we’ll see how we can solve it with you’”.

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