Newmont has implemented a fully autonomous haulage fleet at its Boddington gold mine in Western Australia, becoming the first gold miner in Australia to do so.
Investing $150 million into its autonomous haulage system (AHS), the 36-truck Caterpillar fleet represents Newmont’s commitment to improving safety and productivity in its operations.
Newmont president and chief executive officer Tom Palmer praised Cat and said the autonomous deployment was part of the company’s larger digital mining strategy.
“Delivering this project on time and on budget during a global pandemic is an enormous accomplishment. I am grateful for our team and our partners at Caterpillar for their ongoing dedication and drive,” he said.
“The scale and long life of our operations enables Newmont to implement leading technologies to promote both safety and productivity. We look forward to leveraging this project and our commissioning experience at our other operations and projects around the globe.”
Autonomous haulage solutions improve safety on mine sites as vehicle automation means less people are needed to operate the machinery, reducing the risk of injury as a result.
Newmont continues to ramp up the truck fleet to full productivity at Boddington as the site fine tunes the technology for operation in a deep open pit mine.
Boddington produced 670,000 ounces of gold and 25,400 tonnes of copper in 2020, but the process of implementing the AHS reduced 2021 production forecasts by 140,000 ounces of gold.
“During commissioning the project faced several challenges, including unusually severe weather and heavy rainfall, shovel reliability and operational delays associated with managing bench hygiene as mining moves into deeper sections of the pit,” Newmont stated.
The company now expects to produce around 690,000 ounces of gold for the 2021 financial year as it continues to fine tune its operation of the AHS.