World’s deepest underground private LTE network
Learn how Agnico Eagle partnered with Ambra Solutions and Ericsson to design and deploy a private 4G LTE network 3.2 kilometers underground, enabling remote operation and continuous asset location monitoring that helps improve worker safety and operating efficiency.
Agnico Eagle faced growing demand for data communications, but deploying a high-capacity wireless network deep underground presented major challenges:
- Limited communication options
Operations staff above ground had little visibility into work underground, relying on a traditional telephone line.
- Wi-Fi proved unfeasible
With a growing need for data, the company attempted to deploy Wi-Fi underground but it was too costly and provided poor coverage.
- Radio transmission was difficult
Resonance in deep tunnels and propagating radio signals reliably required specialized expertise outside of Agnico Eagle’s inhouse capabilities.
Agnico Eagle engaged Ambra Solutions, an Ericsson partner, to design and deploy an underground wireless network—the deepest in the world—comprised of:
- LTE Radio Access Network
- Massive IoT (LTE-M/NB IoT)
- Upgradable to 5G NR
- Ambra Intelligent Tracking System (IPS)
- Ambra monitoring system
- 24/7 support
- Licensed Spectrum
- SIM cards
- High bandwidth, low latency
- Supports voice, mission-critical push-to-talk (MC-PTT), autonomous machines, remote control, predictive maintenance, environmental sensing
- Open ecosystem avoids vendor-lock
- Reliable and predictable performance
- Cost-efficient, requiring a factor of 10 fewer communication nodes to cover the same area compared to Wi-Fi
- Rich device ecosystem provides more choices for communications
- End-to-end security, using SIMs, on both network and device levels (Wi-Fi standard only covers L1-L2 security)
Agnico Eagle is transforming underground mining, enabling remote operations and continuous asset location monitoring using real-time data transmitted across the underground private 4G LTE network, helping keep miners safe while improving operational efficiency and productivity.
Transforms the work experience for miners 3.2 km underground
Broad coverage throughout the mine allows miners to stay connected with life on the surface including both above-ground operations and personal connections, creating a more positive human experience and increasing job satisfaction.
Keeps miners safer with real-time communication
With hundreds of kilometers of underground tunnels now covered by high-speed data and voice, Agnico Eagle has real-time awareness of where people and machines are located at all times so operators can avoid hazardous situations and keep miners safe.
Improves sustainability with real-time environmental data
Using data from environmental sensors throughout the tunnels, Agnico Eagle is now able to adopt automated ventilation, a major step toward reducing energy consumption, emissions, and costs.
Boosts mining efficiency through remote operation
With location information and high-speed data transmission across the LTE network, operators in a climate-controlled room above ground can control the movement of machines deep in the mine, enabling them to stay productive 24/7.
Streamlines network deployment with preconfigured kits
Ambra designed a standardized kit that contains everything needed to deploy the LTE network, enabling Agnico Eagle’s staff electricians to deploy 1.5 kilometers of network per day while reducing the chance for errors.