The number of driverless haul trucks will double at Rio Tinto’s Western Australian operations.
The haul trucks will be deployed at the largest mine in the Pilbara, Rio’s Yandicoogina mine, following a two year trial of the Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology on trucks at its West Angelas project.
Rio says the trial trucks have performed well above expectations and under the new deployment they will dump ore for the first time.
It will be a change from the waste product the trucks had previously dumped.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore Pilbara Operations president Greg Lilleyman said the trucks are part of the company’s plans for improving all aspects of its mining.
“This is an exciting step in achieving our Mine of the FutureTM vision, and a critical one in our drive for outstanding safety and production efficiency as we grow our business towards 333 Mt/a capacity.
“It will be the first operational deployment of this technology in Australia, or anywhere on this scale.
“The trucks will be used for all haulage requirements in the Junction South East (JSE) pit, moving high grade, low grade and waste material from multiple loading units.”
The trial project has been underway at West Angelas since December 2008, operating around the clock for more than two years.
The trucks have moved more than 42Mt of material in about 145,000 cycles, travelling more than 450,000 kilometres.
The AHS trucks use pre-defined courses and navigate autonomously from loading units to dump locations, including waste dumps, stockpiles and crushers.
The main navigation system is GPS, combined with a secondary navigation process.
Image: The Yandicoogina mine; Yahoo