A metal producer has approved millions in funding to introduce several driverless trucks at its mining operation in Western Australia.
Newmont Corporation’s board of directors have unanimously approved investing $150 million in a new autonomous haulage system (AHS) at its Boddington Gold Mine in Bannister, 141km southeast of Perth.
The proponent said the decision to introduce driverless Caterpillar haul trucks with rigorous safety controls will reduce the risk of employees being involved in heavy vehicle accidents while, at the same time, extending the mine’s lifespan by at least two years.
Surplus drivers redeployed
Existing haul truck drivers will be reskilled and redeployed to other roles that support the AHS rollout through a “robust people strategy”.
Work is expected to finish in the year 2021 at which point the mine will become one of the world’s first open-pit gold operations with a driverless haul truck fleet. No injuries have been recorded from AHS operations since being introduced to the industry according to Newmont.
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“Simply put Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction,” Newmont president and CEO Tom Palmer said in a public statement.
“Our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35 per cent with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation.”