Newmont has become Australia’s first gold miner to implement a fully operational autonomous haulage fleet at the Boddington gold mine in Western Australia.
The major miner added 36 haul trucks to its fleet, improving safety and overall mine life with a $150 million investment into the autonomous haulage system (AHS).
Newmont president and chief executive officer Tom Palmer said this was a significant moment for all involved.
“Newmont is proud to deliver the gold industry’s first autonomous haul truck fleet at Boddington, an important milestone for the company and the industry as a whole,” Palmer said.
The fleet was delivered by Caterpillar and Palmer acknowledged the company’s part in the milestone.
“Delivering this project on time and on budget during a global pandemic is an enormous accomplishment,” he said.
“I am grateful for our team and our partners at Caterpillar for their ongoing dedication and drive.”
Boddington produced 670,000 ounces of gold and 25,400 tonnes of copper in 2020, but the process of implementing the AHS reduced 2021 production forecasts by 140,000 ounces of gold.
“During commissioning the project faced several challenges, including unusually severe weather and heavy rainfall, shovel reliability and operational delays associated with managing bench hygiene as mining moves into deeper sections of the pit,” Newmont stated.
The company now expects to produce around 690,000 ounces of gold for the 2021 financial year as it continues to fine tune its operation of the AHS.
Palmer said the AHS was a strong representation of Newmont’s ability to evolve with the industry.
“The record implementation of this project is a tremendous example of Newmont’s trademark ability to set and achieve ambitious goals,” he said.
“Throughout our 100-year history, our industry-leading position has been built on deep operational knowledge and technical expertise.
“Today’s AHS commissioning is another moment to add to our proud history of achievements.”