Autonomous trucks to haul Newmont gold
Aussie open pit gold mine to be first with self-driving fleet Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – February 26, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:23am
Newmont Corp. Feb. 19 announced plans for the world's first open-pit gold mine with an entire fleet of autonomous haul trucks.
The company's board of directors unanimously approved investment into this autonomous haulage system at Boddington, a mine in western Australia that produced more than 700,000 ounces of gold and byproduct copper last year.
Total net investment in Boddington's autonomous haulage system is slated to be US$150 million. This investment is expected to improve safety, increase efficiencies and extend the mine's life by at least two years.
"Not only does Boddington continue to deliver strong performance, our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35 percent with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation," said Newmont President and CEO Tom Palmer. "We are also uniquely positioned in the gold sector to support effective implementation and operation of the fleet thanks to the technical capabilities and previous experience of leaders in our business. Simply put, Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction."
The autonomous fleet at Boddington Mine will consist of Caterpillar 793F haul trucks, which feature rigorous safety controls that reduce employee exposure to potential vehicle interactions.
Newmont said no injuries have been recorded from autonomous haulage system operations since the introduction of this technology into the mining industry.
The autonomous trucks will not require operators. However, most autonomous equipment in the mining sector require people to monitor the automatons from a control room, typically located at the mine site.
Further details on autonomous mining equipment, including an underground gold mine in Africa with a fully autonomous mining fleet, can be read at Robotic mines of the future are here published in the Feb. 19 edition of Metal Tech News.
Newmont said it is implementing a robust people strategy at Boddington, which will provide opportunities for reskilling and redeployment of haul truck drivers to other roles supporting the autonomous haulage system at Boddington.
Newmont sees the potential for additional returns on its US$150 million investment at Boddington from implementing similar autonomous haul fleets at some of its other global operations.
The autonomous fleet at Boddington is expected to be fully operational by 2021, which will make the Western Australia operation the first open pit gold mine in the world with an autonomous haul truck fleet.