Newmont has delivered first production from its new autonomous truck fleet at the Boddington gold mine in Western Australia.
The first equipment involved in the production included five autonomous trucks that commenced production between stockpiles and the crusher.
The production was preceded by commissioning and testing in an autonomous operating zone at the mine.
Newmont is investing $US150 million ($194 million) in the complete fleet, which will comprise 29 new Caterpillar 793F autonomous haulage system (AHS)-enabled trucks and seven existing, converted 793F trucks.
Newmont Australia’s regional senior vice president Alex Bates said first production from its autonomous fleet was an important step in the full deployment of the fleet.
“(This) will see enhanced safety and productivity for the mine at Boddington, as well as extending mine life,” he said.
“We remain on track to successfully transform our mining operation to an AHS operation by the end of the year…”
The Boddington mine will be the world’s first open pit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet when fully operational this year.
Delivery partner WesTrac aims to commission all trucks to AHS seamlessly.
WesTrac general manager technology Alister MacPherson said Newmont had acknowledged that the maturity of AHS in Western Australia was world-leading.
“(When) combined with the extensive experience across the WesTrac team, the company sees the delivery timeline as readily achievable,” he said.
Boddington is conveniently located in proximity to WesTrac’s new technology training centre in Collie.
Training of Newmont maintenance and support personnel has commenced, with further training in the operation of supporting systems being delivered through the WesTrac institute in South Guildford.
Around 160 assets will be equipped with supporting systems.
“Those range from Cat 7495HD rope shovels, right down to light vehicles that are used by workers within the mine environment and need to interact with the autonomous fleet,” MacPherson said.