Anglo American unveils semi-autonomous drill at Dawson coal mine

Image: Anglo American

Anglo American has delivered a first for its metallurgical coal division following completion of a drill hole using a remote-operated, semi-autonomous drill at the Dawson coal mine in Queensland.

The OD14 overburden semi-autonomous drill was controlled by an operator over four kilometres from the site, allowing for safe and efficient completion of the hole with a reduction in shift change times.

The Anglo met coal team received advice from counterparts from the company’s copper business in Chile and Kumba iron ore business in South Africa, which were already familiar with the technology.

The maintenance and engineering team from Dawson and electrical supplier Flanders also got involved to help upgrade the drill’s onboard computer, sensors and safety technology.

Following successful application, the next step is to automate the drill rod changing process, after which the company will look into upgrading other drills in the met coal fleet.

“We’re always looking for ways to be safer, more productive, and more sustainable, and the opportunity at Dawson was attractive, because of the ‘can do’ culture of the team,” said Dieter Haage, head of mine modernisation at Anglo American technical & sustainability team.

“Applying technology in this way is how we modernise our approach and the Dawson mine has taken an important first step on this journey.”

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