Newmont has started production use of an autonomous haul truck fleet at its Boddington gold and copper mine in Western Australia.
The miner said in a statement that it had hit a milestone in the deployment “with the first production delivered”, and produced a brief video showing the driverless trucks operating in the pit.
“Achieving first production from our autonomous fleet is an important step in the full deployment of the fleet,” Newmont Australia’s regional senior vice president Alex Bates said.
“It is a testament to the enthusiasm and professionalism of our team that we have achieved this first milestone safely.”
Newmont said it is the first gold mining company to use autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology in an open pit mine.
It hopes the technology will lead to safety and productivity enhancements, while extending the life of the operation, considered one of Newmont’s “cornerstone assets”.
Through the project, Newmont will buy 29 new Cat 793F haul trucks from Caterpillar dealer WesTrac, and retrofit another seven 793F vehicles already operating on site to autonomous operation.
“We remain on track to successfully transform our mining operation into an AHS operation by the end of the year,” Bates said.
Operations, maintenance and support systems personnel are being trained in the AHS technology ath the nearby WesTrac technology training centre in Collie and the WesTrac Institute in South Guildford.
“As part of the training, Newmont operators are being provided with demonstrations of the new autonomous operations, allowing them to develop an understanding of enabling adoption of AHS technology,” the miner added.