Asia-Potash International Investment Joins Hands with Huawei to Build Southeast Asia’s First Smart Potash Mine in Laos

WeChat video call 300 meters underground, supporting real-time communication in emergencies

On December 15, the 4G industrial ring network that can be upgraded to 5G was officially launched in the smart mining area of Asia-Potash International Investment in Khammouane province, 350 km away from Vientiane, Laos’ national capital. A miner made the first WeChat video call 300 meters underground, reporting real-time situation there to the headquarters 3,500 km away in Beijing.

Asia-Potash International Investment is one of the largest potassic fertilizer suppliers in Asia, with one million tons of output in 2022. Its mining area in Laos is the first smart mining showcase built by the company in Southeast Asia. It is also the first implementation of Huawei’s Smart Mining Solution in Southeast Asia.

With the expansion of production capacity, the number of employees in the mining area in Laos has grown from hundreds to more than 3,000, greatly increasing the demand for automation and intelligence. Specifically, gaps need to be eliminated in communication above and below ground so that underground production safety can be monitored in real time. Workers need to be allowed to remotely control mining vehicles in operation rooms above the ground, reducing risks caused by underground operations in harsh environments such as high temperature and humidity. Intelligent methods need to be used to evaluate ore production quality in real time to improve operation efficiency. Last but least, the transportation system of underground mining vehicles needs to be flexibly scheduled. All these cannot be achieved without the powerful basic communication capability supported by a full-coverage industrial network in the mining area. This is also a rigid requirement for intelligent production in the future.

After over two months of construction, Huawei’s Smart Mining Solution is implemented in the mining area, achieving full coverage of wireless private networks above and below the ground, and meeting the requirements of real- time communication between miners and smart inspection for incidents. This part of the solution is applicable to scenarios where wired networks are unreachable. On the other hand, wired private networks have also been built, meeting the communication requirements above the ground and the monitoring, operation, and security requirements of the underground production surface and important production facilities. This part of the solution is applicable to wired scenarios that require high bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections.

According to the head of the smart mine of Asia-Potash International Investment, based on full network coverage and 5G technologies, cloud-edge collaboration, smart mining applications, and underground services that require ultra-large bandwidth or ultra-low latency, such as remote control and autonomous driving, and cannot be implemented on the existing underground private network, will be implemented in the future, laying a solid foundation for building the industrial Internet architecture and people-centric smart mines.

Zhang Lu, a Huawei technical expert, said that fixed phones were mainly used before for communication below and above the ground. Now, the wireless industrial ring network supports mobile calls anytime and anywhere. In mobile working scenarios, every working unit is connected in real time in the mining area, greatly improving safety and efficiency. The application of Huawei’s Smart Mining Solution fully considers the requirements of network advancement and practicability in mining areas. One network carries multiple services and supports fast provisioning as well as flexible upgrade to 5G in the future.

Over the past year, Huawei’s newly established coal mine team has made great achievements in the field of coal mine intelligence. The MineHarmony operating system jointly developed by Huawei and China Energy has been deployed in more than 3,300 sets of equipment in 13 coal mines and one coal washing plant of Shendong Coal Group. The entire Wulanmulun mine applies the operating system. The transformation of connection, interaction, and data access has been implemented.

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