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Sandvik is collaborating with Nokia and Finnish company VTT in a new research project aimed at making the mining industry more productive, safe and sustainable.

Dubbed Next Generation Mining (NGMining), the project will see the introduction of next-generation mining technology, including autonomous connected machinery, digital automation, and advanced analytics for real-time situational awareness and control.

NGMining will bring together industrial 5G private networks, edge computing and artificial intelligence-based solutions to progress the initiative, as the companies look to collaborate with other industry players to establish joint experiments and frameworks.

The final goal being to develop proof of concept (PoC) experimental systems that can evaluate integrated connectivity solutions, which are then tested in underground mining environments.

Sandvik commercialisation and networks lead Miika Kaski said the project is part of the company’s pursuit of further digitalisation.

“Sandvik is conducting research on 5G connectivity cases in the mining environment and this NGMining consortium helps facilitate this with our network partners,” Kaski said.

Nokia Unlocking Industrial 5G program director Jarkko Pellikka said industry interplay is crucial for the progression of the mining industry.

“Collaboration across the ecosystem is essential for developing winning technology solutions that will meet productivity and sustainability targets, and capture global market share in the growing mining business,” Pellikka said.

The two-year NGMining project commenced in May 2021 and includes Finland’s University of Oulu as a research partner.

Epec, SATEL, Huld, Terrasolid, Outsight, Etteplan, Noptel, Unikie, Iiwari, Millisecond and  Wizense ja Indagon are company partners for the initiative.

It comes after Sandvik made some landmark acquisitions in July and August, purchasing DSI Underground for €943 million ($1.5 billion) and taking full ownership of Rocbolt Technologies in China, South Africa and Mongolia.