Caterpillar and Newmont collaborate on underground automation tech

Loader operators in a control room.

Caterpillar and Newmont Mining have announced a technology collaboration to improve underground hard rock autonomous vehicles.

The companies will be supported by United States-based Cat dealer Cashman and initially focus on Cat’s semi-autonomous MineStar-based Command for underground system.

Newmont is the largest user of the company’s underground automation tech in the western world. The collaboration will see Newmont and Cat test and validate new features, improving existing systems and sharing information to help further Cat’s automation strategy.

“Automating underground loaders enables machine operators to work safely and efficiently from a control room on the surface,” said Graden Colby, underground operations manager at the Leeville gold mine in Nevada.

“In addition to enhancing safety, the semi-autonomous system increases loader utilisation, improves productivity and allows one operator to control two or more machines.”

The agreement is designed to allow for rapid implementation and replication across all of Newmont’s sites through Caterpillar’s global network of dealers to increase consistency and efficiency.

“Through our shared vision with Caterpillar and Cashman — along with senior management commitment — we are tackling a new frontier in mining to improve safety, productivity and costs,” said David Thornton, general manager of Newmont’s Carlin underground operations.

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