Roy Hill has signed a contract with Epiroc to automate the Western Australian iron ore miner’s mixed fleet of 77 Hitachi and Cat haul trucks.
Epiroc, in partnership with automation specialist ASI Mining, will deliver an interoperable solution with the ability to expand to other mining vehicle types and manufacturers.
The solution will also have the capability to integrate with existing and future Roy Hill systems.
Epiroc will work with Hitachi/Wencomine on truck conversion and integration of Roy Hill’s existing Wenco fleet management system.
The project will involve an initial phase of testing and production verification of up to eight trucks, before the full fleet of Roy Hill machines is converted from mid 2021.
Roy Hill chief executive officer Barry Fitzgerald said the Pilbara iron ore site was well positioned to transition to automation.
“Our teams on site and in our remote operations centre in Perth have demonstrated a clear capacity to deliver complex projects, sustainable change and operational excellence with the recent success of the autonomous drill program and fleet optimisation initiatives,” Fitzgerald said.
“Now is the right time to bring the combined expertise of Roy Hill, Epiroc, ASI Mining and Wenco together to convert our haul truck fleet.”
Epiroc and ASI Mining, which have global experience on automation projects, plan to establish a highly-credentialed team in Western Australia to deliver the project.
ASI CEO Mel Torrie said the companies would also partner with key suppliers, including mining technology integrator Sedna, to deliver the automation haulage system (AHS) at Roy Hill.
“As a manufacturer-agnostic solutions provider ASI Mining looks forward to highlighting the opportunities presented by an interoperable approach to autonomous mining,” Torrie said.
Fitzgerald reinforced the role of Roy Hill’s people in this project, saying they were at the forefront of the decision to undertake truck automation.
He added the commitment to Roy Hill’s people also extends to the effective transition of impacted operators to other roles.
Roy Hill has established reskilling and redeployment plans to assist the transition of operators to new roles within the business.
“We are committed to an automation journey that creates an environment in which our people can develop new skills critical to the workforce of the future. Our focus is on setting people up to succeed and further contribute to the Roy Hill community,” Fitzgerald said.
United States-based ASI develops technology solutions for the autonomous operation of mining vehicles. Epiroc acquired a 34 per cent stake in the ASI in October 2018.