Epiroc, a global mining technology and equipment supplier, recently clinched a groundbreaking deal worth $70 million to convert Roy Hill’s mixed fleet of haul trucks to autonomous operation, making it one of the largest autonomous mines in the world.
Epiroc, in partnership with ASI Mining, announced the project earlier this year, which will involve the development of an interoperable and scalable autonomous haul truck solution. The contract covers the entire fleet of 96 haul trucks at Roy Hill, including 54 Caterpillar trucks and 42 Hitachi trucks.
The project is expected to run until 2024, and additional orders will be booked in the future. The autonomous conversion will be made possible with ASI Mining’s Mobius-based autonomous haulage system, with Epiroc providing essential support since it owns a 34% stake in ASI.
Helena Hedblom, president and CEO of Epiroc, expressed her excitement about the project’s potential benefits for safety and productivity, saying, “We are thrilled to support Roy Hill in creating the world’s largest autonomous mine. This move will undoubtedly bring substantial benefits to safety and productivity.”
Gina Rinehart, Roy Hill’s executive chairman, is spearheading the project which has now entered the production verification phase. The autonomous haul trucks are already running 24/7 in a dedicated operating zone at the mine, meeting safety standards and outperforming conventional haul trucks in productivity.
Roy Hill, one of the largest iron ore operations in Australia, is located in the Pilbara. The mine is majority-owned by Hancock Prospecting, with Marubeni Corporation, POSCO and China Steel Corporation owning the remaining shares.
Jose Sanchez, Epiroc’s president of surface division, also hailed the project as a significant breakthrough, saying, “Roy Hill, led by its executive chairman Mrs. Gina Rinehart, is a true pioneer and will set a new gold standard for autonomous surface mining. Our team working on this is doing an excellent job.”
The project represents a milestone in the mining industry’s move towards automation and improved safety standards, and Epiroc is proud to be a part of this revolutionary initiative.