Autonomous mining trucks are already a feature of iron ore mines in the Pilbara of WA and have proven popular with BHP and also Rio Tinto as a cost-cutting technology.
Speaking to The Australian, BHP coal boss Dean Dalla Valle said two coal mines in the eastern states were earmarked to test the remotely operated trucks “after successful coal mine trials in New Mexico.”
“We’re looking at two opportunities in coal to do the same thing, in Queensland and NSW,” Dalla Valle told The Australian.
“There’s no doubt it will happen, and I’d like to think that within 12 months we will be running trials.”
Dalla Valle said he expected the autonomous trucks to work just as well hauling coal as they did hauling iron ore.
“It’s slightly different but once the system’s up and running, it should work effectively in both,” he said.
“They are effectively the same model of trucks, just carrying a different product.”