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The harsh and complex production environment of Zhunneng’s open-pit coal mines has resulted in a high rate of occupational diseases among workers and a great number of accidents.


5G solutions can help ensure the intrinsic production safety of open-pit mines and improve operational efficiency.

Impact & Statistics

By deploying a 5G core network respectively in Zhunneng Group’s Heidaigou and Haerwusu coal mines, the project ensured stable, secure, and reliable network signal backhaul of 103 5G macrocells to enable low-latency access to the the unmanned driving application platform by more than 200 mining trucks, 40 electric shovels and 1,000 auxiliary vehicles.

Wider Implications

Zhunneng have discovered several best practices for future 5G implementations to mining as well as a number of future digital projects to build on existing enhancements.


China Telecom, Huawei, Zhunneng Group


Using 5G to improve Zhunneng’s mines

In 2021, as part of Zhunneng Group’s ‘5G + Smart Mining Application’ they began using 5G to modernise mining operations at its two sites in Heidaigou and Haerwusu.

This involved bringing automation and remote control to 200 mining trucks, 40 electric shovels, and 1,000 auxiliary vehicles. By using 5G networks in conjunction with AI, HD video, big data, and cloud computing, Zhunneng Group’s coal mines have achieved intelligent operations, ubiquitous connectivity, and precise control of production lines. This has resulted in using 5G to improve applications such as unmanned driving, remote control, intelligent coal mining, and intelligent inspection, all of which are helping improve the safety and efficiency in open-pit mines.


Summary and findings

This 5G project has become one of the largest of its kind in China, and even the world, transforming operations and the personal safety of its workers. In implementation, Zhunneng discovered three key recommendations for similar projects:

  • Accurate business profiling of terminal-side applications is a key input to support precise planning of 5G networks.

  • Feasibility should be considered during network planning and design, and
    toB network planning requires customised network schemes

    for specific industries and scenarios.

  • Risks should be identified in advance of the delivery stage, with a risk response plan formulated
    by stakeholders to ensure quality is maintained.


Next steps

Zhunneng have identified the following steps as the next part of their digital transformation:

  • By introducing 3D modelling of the sites’ premises, Zhunneng will be able to enhance the how their 5G networks are developed and maintained and add additional functionality such as personnel and vehicle positioning.

  • 5G has made it possible for the mines to implement enhanced video tracking which will add decimetre-level positioning to significantly improve electronic fence monitoring over blasting areas, conveyor belts and other dangerous operating areas.

  • Zhunneng will be introducing an intelligent management platform which will standardise the data formats of different production subsystems to improve management and operation efficiency.

  • The project plans to implement 5G edge clouds
    in the mining data centres to save investment in hardware equipment, improve on-site operation and maintenance, and ensure rapid deployment and release of new services and new applications.



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