Nokia pilot facilitates private underground 5G network in Russian mine

Nokia AirScale 5G base station (Image credit: Nokia)

With the deployment of a private 5G network with Russian palladium and nickel mining company, Nornickel, a pilot project by Nokia has successfully been used to run machinery via remote control, monitor safety and overall operations.

Russian underground 5G network

Nornickel, who produces palladium, nickel, platinum and copper, and Finnish telecom giant, Nokia, announced that the pilot project at the Skalysty mine (at a depth of 875 meters) was completed on an industrial-grade private wireless connected digital mine solution. The Nokia products used included 4.9G/LTE and 5G core hardware and software, Flexi Zone Micro LTE and Nokia AirScale 5G base stations together with a special solution for mission-critical group communications, was a success. The partners in this project were the telecom operator Tele2, Qualcomm and the company SPBEK-Mining.

"The world is closely looking at the potential usage of 5G networks in the industrial segment.”

Liana Ermishina, Nornickel.

“Today the world is closely looking at the potential usage of 5G networks in the industrial segment, and our company is no exception. The level of industrial automation at the Nornickel mines is constantly increasing, innovative systems and technologies are being introduced, driving further requirements for wireless data transmission networks. We are considering the possibility to use LTE and later 5G technologies underground, because these networks are best suited, first of all, to improve safety measures in the production process, as well as to implement advanced digitalisation scenarios, such as autonomous mining and remote control of machinery,” said Liana Ermishina, Director of the Information Technology Department of Nornickel, via source, International Mining.

5G robots and increased automation

As a result of the test confirming that Nokia’s private LTE/5G technology is capable of supporting wireless broadband communication in an underground mining environment, the Russian mining company is ready to bring in robots and increase automation. The private 5G network will be used by Nornickel for the remote management of machinery via video, voice and data communications, video surveillance and for communicating between production sites and the control centre.

“Nokia’s 5G solutions are becoming more in demand in the enterprise market.”

Demetrio Russo, Nokia Eastern Europe.

“We are happy to partner with Nornickel on this project, which provides critical infrastructure for the development of digital technologies at Nornickel’s enterprises. Nokia’s 5G solutions are becoming more in demand in the enterprise market, with the share of enterprise customers in Nokia 5G deals reaching 12%. Nokia has 260 private wireless enterprise customers worldwide, of which more than 40 engagements are 5G. Nokia has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to support many private wireless network deployment scenarios across various industries. And we look forward to working with multiple Russian enterprises to help enable their digital transformation,” said Demetrio Russo, Vice President, Nokia Eastern Europe, via source, International Mining.

And so, despite all the fake news, conspiracy theories, and unfounded claims surrounding 5G dangers, the reality is that the next generation of mobile communications will actually save and protect lives, not take them.

Rachael Sharpe

Rachael is a British journalist with 17 years experience in the publishing industry. Since launching, she’s been freelancing, and working for some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including and and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. A regular contributor at 5Gradar, Rachael is following the 5G market closely. Find out more at