Mobile Connectivity Now Available at Estonia Underground Mine

As of today, mobile connectivity is available at the Estonia underground mine increasing occupational safety and efficiency of mining processes.

“Development of technologies and implementing digital and telecommunication solutions in production processes helps the mine to increase efficiency, which in turn improves competitiveness of Eesti Energia, because cost of electricity and oil depends on the cost of oil shale. Third generation mobile connectivity with fast data speeds is available everywhere in the mine where mining activity is occurring. Mobile coverage is available in almost 40 kilometers of the mine tunnels,“ said Hando Sutter, CEO at Eesti Energia.

The project has a notable effect on mine’s operations. “Before having access to mobile network, sending out information on the current state of mining, occupational safety, and condition of devices took a lot of time, and it was not possible to react quickly. Today, we can act immediately when the need arises. Thus, work processes become more efficient, and occupational safety improves,“ explained Ahti Puur, CEO at Enefit Kaevandused. Kirke Saar, CTO at Telia Estonia, said that mobile connectivity in a mine is a unique solution in Estonia.

“We started testing in 2015 and achieved excellent results, which today enables us to build a system for the whole mining area. In addition to voice and data services, the system includes positioning of employees and machinery, which is important in terms of occupation safety,” Kirke Saar added.

Mobile connection remains active even when the mining front moves. All mobile connectivity devices can be relocated. Enefit Solutions, a subsidiary company under Eesti Energia, installed 45 kilometers of fiber optics cable. Antenna network was engineered by Boftel and installed by Ericsson, while Telia installed the base stations. Total cost of the project was approximately €150,000.

The Estonia mine is located in Ida-Viru county. It is known to be the largest oil shale mine in the world with 141 km2 of extracting permit area - this is approximately the same size as the city of Tallinn. In 2016, the Estonia mine produced 12.6 million tons of oil shale, which is 65% of Enefit Kaevandused total oil shale production. The Estonia mine employs 1,300 people.

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