Komatsu has announced the launch of its CoE for autonomous haulage for the mine of the future to be based in Tucson, Arizona, USA. In an environment where some of its customers (BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) amongst others) have since adopted the technology, it was long overdue that the product, technology and
maintenance experts bring these under one roof to ensure adequate autonomous haulage system (AHS) strategy, planning, marketing and most importantly support and training thus ensuring rapid and faster response to daily customer needs. Autonomous mining is the future of faster, massive, cheaper mining which should reduce the element of safety risk.
However, recent spate of accidents in mines (2 Crashes at FMG, 1 at BHP) utilizing the system leaves small gaps and loopholes that need to be closed out and such a centre will ensure optimum supported is rendered to the customers. “Since the introduction of the first AHS truck at Solomon in 2012, AHS trucks have safely travelled over 24.7 million kilometers,” Elizabeth Gaines, the FMG CEO was quoted. This is a significant safety achievement compared to conventional operator-based mining systems which are susceptible to judgement-based errors and incidents now and again.
“This is a major step forward for Komatsu’s unified approach to mining,” said Jim Nishiura, VP global mining business division, Komatsu. “Our diversified FrontRunner AHS team is united by common goals, workflows and strategies to deliver maximum value to our customers as well as our customer-facing teams and distributors.” Since its commercial release 11 years ago, Komatsu’s AHS has achieved the unprecedented milestone of more than 2.0 billion tonnes of surface material moved autonomously – more than all other commercial mining autonomous haulage systems combined.
Advanced control technologies reduce emissions, tire wear and fuel consumption. Operation of trucks within design specifications can result in tire life more than doubling.
With this change, comes a shift of the mining skills required for the mining sector. Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics (DA) skills are becoming a requirement from the operator all the way to the CEO.