Goonyella Riverside mine in Central Queensland will be the first BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) site to have autonomous haul trucks.
They’ll be introduced from the first half of next year, BMA asset president James Palmer says.
It comes just a month after Anglo American backed off a proposal to introduce Autonomous Haulage Systems (AHS) for a portion of its truck fleet at Dawson Mine in Central Queensland.
Mr Palmer said full roll-out of the new technology at Goonyella Riverside would take two years.
‘No forced redundancies’ says Palmer
“We want to give people in our workforce and the community as much notice as possible of this change,” he said.
“There will be no forced employee redundancies at Goonyella Riverside as a result of this decision with respect to autonomous haulage.
“BMA’s long term commitment to the region is underpinned by a responsibility to provide training opportunities for local workers to ensure they have access to the skills and capabilities to succeed in the future of mining.”
The introduction of autonomous haulage at Goonyella Riverside will involve the staged conversion to an autonomous fleet of up to 86 Komatsu trucks over the next two years.
Mr Palmer said it would build on the mine’s strong production record by increasing truck hours and delivering more consistent cycle times.
BMA had been talking to its workforce and the local community about the potential for increased automation of mining operations for several months leading up to today’s announcement, Mr Palmer said.
“We understand that automation represents a significant change. It also offers a unique opportunity for people to gain new, highly-valued skills,” he said.
To help prepare for Goonyella Riverside’s autonomous future, it is estimated over 40,000 hours of training would be delivered, ranging from general awareness to extensive training for those operating equipment, interacting with the autonomous haul trucks, or taking on new roles.
Any future decisions to implement autonomous haulage would be made on a site-by-site basis, said Mr Palmer.