Barminco, IGO trial remote Nova operation

Barminco has piloted a remote operations centre in Perth, which mobilised a machine at Independence Group’s Nova underground mine in Western Australia.

Parent company Perenti believes the centre to be a world first as it could remotely operate underground equipment on any mine site around the world.

The pilot, which remotely operated Sandvik LH517 loader, occurred via the Internet instead of through a fibre-optic cable, the traditional method among mine owner-operators.

Barminco chief executive Paul Muller announced the achievement at the third annual Sandvik Digitalisation in Mining event in Brisbane, Queensland.

“Barminco has cemented its place as one of the world’s leading underground mining service providers through the use of technology and automation,” he said.

“A key strategic initiative under our parent company, Perenti’s 2025 strategy, is to deliver a ‘technology driven future’, and our ability to remotely operate underground machinery from our head office is a significant achievement in delivering on that strategy.”

Barminco trialled the remote operating centre in collaboration with Sandvik and IGO in July this year.

Company general manager technology and innovation Darren Kwok said the trial was a great success.

“While many mine sites have operators remotely operating equipment from the mine’s surface, we are one of the first, if not the first service provider, to operate underground equipment on a client’s site from a much greater distance,” Kwok said.

“(The centre) enables us to connect multiple sites and operators at the same time, meaning if there is an issue at any point, we have contingencies in place.”

Barminco is working with IGO to make the operating centre a permanent fixture at its Nova mine site.

IGO chief operating officer Matt Dusci said the company was thrilled to be part of the successful trial.

“At IGO, we continually look for ways to improve how we do business and deliver operational excellence. By integrating innovative SMART solutions at our operations, such as working with Barminco on BROC, we improve the safety and wellbeing of our people, realise step change opportunities, and optimise efficiencies and productivity,” Dusci said.

Barminco’s future plans include a dedicated remote operating centre that is manned 24/7.

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