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Botswana’s Debswana and Huawei have unveiled what they claim to be the world’s first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine project.

The new smart diamond mine project was announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2023 conference.

Debswana information management head Molemisi Nelson Sechaba said the Huawei-enabled smart mine platform is currently being used at Debswana’s Jwangeng open-pit diamond mine in Botswana. This project was commissioned in December 2021.

Huawei’s 4G eLTE private network connects more than 260 pieces of equipment at the Jwangeng mine, subsequently improving interconnection between the production, safety and security systems of the mine.

The hardware equipment such as base stations support network upgrades to 5G.

Intended to offer high bandwidth with low latency, 5G can support technologies such as autonomous driving.

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Sechaba said the eLTE system enables data transfers and makes equipment such as mining vehicles more efficient while reducing long-term OPEX and improving safety.

Due to live data collection, backhaul and interaction, the system is sensitive and accurate, in turn protecting staff and vehicles.

Debswana is planning to deploy the smart mining solution at its Orapa, Damtshaa, and Letlhakane mines this year.

Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Region vice-president Liao Yong said the firm provided services to mining firms in the region, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana, over the past five years.

Huawei intends to work with more local partners to fast-track mining digital transformation.