Fortescue awards automation contract to Thiess

Thiess will install autonomous haulage technology at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore operation in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The CIMIC-owned mining services company will convert a minimum of 65 conventional haul trucks to the system over the 18-month contract.

It will also install various sub-components of the system on ancillary equipment for the machinery to perform autonomously at Fortescue’s Chichester Hub.

The contract involves adding the system to Fortescue’s Komatsu 930E and Caterpillar 789D haul trucks.

Fortescue revealed in April that the first haul trucks fitted with autonomous haulage technology as part of its latest expansion had started operating at Christmas Creek.

The iron ore miner is converting around 100 trucks at Chichester Hub, which will make it the first iron ore operation in the world to have a fully autonomous fleet.

Thiess managing director Douglas Thompson said the mining services company would work with Fortescue in leading mining innovation.

“Our work at Christmas Creek builds on our strong record of delivery for Fortescue at their Solomon mine, where we assisted in the upgrade of their autonomous fleet,” Thompson said.

Fortescue awarded Thiess a $650 million contract extension for mining services at the Solomon mine in July 2017.

CIMIC Group chief executive officer Michael Wright said, “This contract reinforces Thiess’ positive working relationship with Fortescue and strengthens our position as a leading provider of autonomous services.”