Mining behemoth Newmont has confirmed the start-up of the first autonomous haulage system (AHS) in the gold industry at its Boddington project in Western Australia.
The miner invested A$150 million in its work to fully automate its haulage fleet, which is comprised of 36 trucks.
It was able to meet its goal even with slowdowns and challenges during commissioning, it said, that included unseasonably severe weather and heavy rainfall. It is hoping that the transition will improve overall mine safety and productivity and extend the operation’s overall mine life.
“Following completion of the industry’s fastest AHS commissioning program, Boddington continues to ramp up the truck fleet to full productivity as the site fine tunes the technology for operation in a deep open pit mine,” Newmont officials said.
It also noted that the aforementioned challenges did lead it to delivered lower ex-pit tons than expected, and adjusted its full-year 2021 gold production; it now anticipates to be approximately 140,000 ounces below original guidance estimates of 830,000 oz.
“Delivering this project on time and on budget during a global pandemic is an enormous accomplishment,” Newmont President and CEO Tom Palmer said.
“I am grateful for our team and our partners at Caterpillar for their ongoing dedication and drive. The scale and long life of our operations enables Newmont to implement leading technologies to promote both safety and productivity.”
Boddington delivered 670,000 oz. and 56 million pounds of copper in 2020.
Newmont is the world’s leading gold producer and also mines copper, silver, zinc and lead.