Pybar has been trialling the new Cat R1700 underground loaders in an automation project at Diversified Minerals’ Dargues gold mine in New South Wales.
The equipment is undergoing staged testing to improve automation in early 2020.
Pybar’s trial of the loaders features Cat’s next generation MXZ technology, where the machine digs the load instead of the operator.
Both Traction Control and Autodig technologies have consistently achieved full buckets, according to the contractor.
Pybar will progress the trial by setting up tele-remoting from the surface in time for stoping in early 2020.
Andrew Rouse, chief technology officer of Pybar, said the contractor’s approach had always been to get the basics right using traditional means before it added technology to enhance capabilities.
This guiding principle was being applied to several current automation projects, according to Rouse.
Pybar has collaborated with technology company Emesent to test automated drones at the Dargues and Woodlawn operations (Heron Resources) in New South Wales.
The drones used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) technology for underground tracking and keeping them away from obstacles.
Pybar reported that the trials had delivered favourable outcomes, including the swift processing of information gathered by the drones.
“The technology has great potential and Pybar is investigating how best it can be applied to our business,” the company stated.
Pybar won a four year whole-of-mine contract at Heron Resources’ Woodlawn mine in 2018. The contractor has also been involved at Dargues for a life of mine development since 2017.