Newmont has delivered first production from autonomous haulage at the Boddington gold mine in Western Australia.
The company invested $US150 million ($194 million) in the autonomous project and trained its personnel in a safe environment at WesTrac’s Collie facility.
This includes training for Newmont maintenance and support personnel and the wider operations team.
Five autonomous trucks contributed to the production milestone, with the rest of the fleet to be commissioned by the end of the year.
The complete fleet comprises 29 new Caterpillar 793F autonomous trucks and seven retrofitted 793F trucks.
“First production from our autonomous fleet is an important step in the full deployment of the fleet, which will see enhanced safety and productivity for the mine at Boddington, as well as extending mine life,” Newmont Australia regional senior vice president Alex Bates said.
“As well, the project will enable the extension of mine life, supporting ongoing direct and indirect employment opportunities well into the future.”
According to WesTrac general manager technology Alister MacPherson, Newmont has recognised the maturity of autonomous haulage systems (AHS) in Western Australia as world-leading.
“AHS operations have an uncompromised safety record in the mining industry and the rigorous safety controls included as part of the autonomous technology will further improve safety performance for Newmont and its contractors,” WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome said.
“WesTrac is excited to be part of the Boddington project and to partner with Caterpillar to deliver this significant milestone for Newmont.”
The project will establish Boddington as the world’s first open pit gold mine to use a fully autonomous haul truck fleet.