MRL automates next level of safety

Image: Mineral Resources

Mineral Resources’ (MRL) autonomous road trains project has reached a world-first milestone, achieving a successful demonstration run of a triple-trailer, automated road train platoon with each road train hauling 300 tonnes of iron ore.

The demonstration showcased the success of our autonomous road trains pilot project, which has been underway at MRL’s Yilgarn iron ore operations in Westen Australia since late 2021.

Mineral Resources has introduced a number of new technologies over recent years to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of its long-distance road train haulage fleet and the autonomous road trains is taking the company to the next level.

The technology will initially be adopted for MRL’s own operations, with a view to offering the solution to its Tier 1 customer base as it grows its mining services division.

MRL has partnered with autonomy specialist Hexagon on the project, integrating Hexagon’s drive-by-wire technology with an autonomous management system to orchestrate vehicle movement.

MRL chief executive – mining services Mike Grey said automating a road train platoon of this size had never been achieved before and he was delighted that Mineral Resources was leading the world with this ground-breaking innovation.

“It’s been an exciting journey over the past year, and we’ve now achieved a world-first platoon of three autonomous road trains, which is a game-changer for us,” he said.

“It’s an extremely proud moment to see our autonomous project grow from desktop concept to iron ore reality so quickly.”

MRL is renowned for providing innovative and low-cost solutions across the mining infrastructure supply chain, and the autonomous road trains will form an essential part of the cost-efficient supply chain unlocking stranded resources in the Pilbara region as part of the Ashburton Hub Iron Ore Project.

“As we get ready for the Ashburton Hub Iron Ore Project and look to unlock stranded tonnes of iron ore, our autonomous road trains will be the vital link between the pit and the port,” Grey said.

“As the first of its kind in the world, it opens up new opportunities for us, as we can trial the technology ourselves before offering it to our Tier 1 customers.”

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