Ambra continues expansion with Sandvik pact


Staff reporter

‘We will empower mine operators with a new form of connectivity’

Sandvik believes an alliance with 17-year-old Canadian mine wireless communications specialist, Ambra Solutions, can help it address critical communication challenges in underground mining and improve its AutoMine sub-surface automation offering.

While specifics of the partnership announced this week are sketchy, Sandvik said Ambra would “serve as an integrator, designing and deploying a private LTE/5G wireless infrastructure specifically tailored for AutoMine systems”.

AutoMine is the Swedish company’s flagship mine automation platform.

Sandvik generates more than half its circa-US$12.4 billion annual sales from its mining equipment, service and growing technology business. It aims to generate about $640 million of digital revenue in 2025.

Integrating Ambra LTE/5G connectivity into Sandvik’s AutoMine systems “creates underground connectivity that is more secure, safe, reliable and high-speed”, it said.

“This partnership will enhance the communication capabilities of our AutoMine systems and expedite their implementation,” said Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions digital ecosystem manager, automation, Marko Jokinen.

Ambra commissioned its first private LTE network in 2017 for Agnico Eagle at its deep LaRonde gold operation in Abitibi, Quebec.

It has since reportedly completed about 50 network projects, not all of them mining, for “more than 800km of optical fibre buried and deployed in tunnels and connected to antennas”.

Founder and CEO Eric L’Heureux says the growth of the business has exploded since 2020, with the Trois-Rivieres office Ambra moved into that year said to be overcrowded with more than 90 employees at the end of 2023.

L’Heureux has described the “deepest LTE network in the world” at LaRonde as a breakthrough in mining. It is said to enable precise tracking of people, vehicles and machinery at depths below 3km.

“In underground mines, there were no technologies, until we developed this technology, to communicate effectively underground,” he has said.

Subsequent expansion, including beyond Canada, had seen Ambra “democratise the nomadic LTE/5G network”.

“Basically, we install the infrastructure on a platform. This allows our customer to be connected temporarily, while we meet their needs,” he has said.

“By partnering with Sandvik to deliver innovative communication solutions tailored for AutoMine, we will empower mine operators with a new form of connectivity,” L’Heureux said this week.

“This collaboration not only advances the deployment of underground cellular networks but also creates opportunities for further IoT integration and technological advancements in the mining industry.”

 

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