Anglo American has announced a milestone in its FutureSmart Mining program, with drilling conducted at its Dawson coal mine in central Queensland using a machine operated by a controller situated 4km away.
The overburden (OD14) semi-autonomous drill is the first in the company’s metallurgical coal fleet to be fitted with this capability.
“This is a significant step towards FutureSmart Mining at metallurgical coal,” Anglo American principal, open cut technology and automation Matt Graham said.
The introduction of the semi-autonomous drill is expected to bring safety improvements, increased productivity, and a reduction in shift change times.
The project team worked with electrical control system supplier Flanders and Dawson mine’s maintenance and engineering team to upgrade the drill system’s on-board computer, sensors, and new safety devices. The information management team also upgraded the mine’s Wi-Fi network to ensure connectivity.
Work will continue on the overburden (OD14) while the team focuses on automating the drill rod changing process. Once this is complete, they’ll explore opportunities to upgrade other drills in the metallurgical coal fleet.