Fortescue to increase Cat autonomous technology at iron ore mines

Fortescue's Solomon Hub

Fortescue Metals Group plans to deploy more autonomous haulage technology (AHS) at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The miner has deployed Caterpillar AHS at the Solomon Hub since 2012 with 56 trucks now operating at the site. According to Fortescue, this move has achieved a 20 per cent improvement in productivity.

Fortescue plans to convert up to another 12 793F trucks at Solomon in the 2018 financial year to further improve productivity across the site.

The company’s implementation plan for the rollout of AHS at the Chichester Hub is also under way.

Around 100 haul trucks will be converted to AHS as Fortescue aims to deliver productivity improvements equivalent to those achieved at Solomon.

The implementation at Chichester involves the start of commercial negotiations with suppliers, as well as the upgrade of the IT network at the Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines.

Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power said the company was continuing to introduce leading-edge technology to ensure it remained at the lowest end of the global cost curve.

“Our focus remains on improving safety and increasing productivity and efficiency to deliver ongoing cost reductions,” Power said.

“These projects will encompass technological advancement, workforce skills development and collaboration with our suppliers to harness the best ideas and position Fortescue strongly for the future.”

As part of Fortescue’s assessment of a project to replace the Firetail mine, it is considering an investment in a relocatable conveyor trial at the Cloudbreak mine.