Diggers & Dealers: Fortescue ramps up relocatable conveyor operation

Fortescue's relocatable conveyor.

Fortescue Metals Group expects the relocatable conveyor system it has operating in the Pilbara to replace a dozen trucks once it is fully operational.

Chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines, speaking at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum, pointed to the relocatable conveyor system as one of the iron ore miner’s important recent innovations.

The iron ore miner launched operation of the relocatable conveyor system at the Cloudbreak iron ore mine in June. The 5km conveyor includes a semi-mobile primary crushing station and feeds directly into the Cloudbreak ore processing facility at the Chichester Hub.

“The intention of that conveyor is that it will replace 12 trucks once it is fully operational,” Gaines told delegates.

“It is a very innovative approach to technology that has been used in underground mining and actually apply it to our iron ore operations.”

Fortescue awarded RCR Tomlinson a $33 million contract to design, manufacture and construct the system last November.

The system can position the relocatable conveyor and semi-mobile crushing facilities approximate to pits and relocate it once mined.

Gaines also updated Fortescue’s progress to introduce further automation at its Chichester Hub, where it is converting 100 trucks.

“We have 19 operational at Christmas Creek as we speak. Once we have completed the project to convert all of the trucks at the Chichesters we will be the first iron ore miner globally to have a fully autonomous haulage fleet,” Gaines said.

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