Resolute Mining is conducting safer mining at the Syama underground gold mine in Mali, West Africa with a fully autonomous fleet.
The company will begin by automating long-hole drilling next month, followed by the commissioning of autonomous loading of haul trucks in May next year and autonomous haulage in August.
Infrastructure to support the fully autonomous mining continues to be installed, as development areas are completed and become accessible. Development in Syama began in October 2016.
Resolute chief executive John Welborn said Syama would be the most sophisticated and advanced gold mine in Africa. The automation of Syama is a also key driver of lower costs.
“The combination of mine automation, improved recoveries and lower cost power has the potential to increase Syama site production to 300,000 ounces of gold per annum and reduce life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs to below $US750 ($1045) per ounce,” Welborn said.
Automated trucks will also switch from underground laser positioning to GPS on the surface, thanks to trials conducted by Sandvik. This will allow fully automated delivery of gold ore from the mine to the mill.
Syama’s automation will not only increase safety and productivity, but also sustain many highly skilled jobs in Mali for the life of mine.
The mine will ramp up toward the targeted full rate of 2.4 million tonnes per year, starting with the completion of its first gold production and sub-level cave mining this month.
Syama will be the world’s first purpose-built, fully automated sub-level cave gold mine.