Rio Tinto Continues to Roll Out Driverless Technology
Mining company Rio Tinto is getting closer to completing its Mine of the Future™ initiative.
The company has now deployed 57 driverless trucks at its Hope Downs 4 joint venture in Pilbara, as well as recently testing its first autonomous train as part of its AutoHaul™ program.
Rio Tinto’s managing director of Pilbara mine Michael Gollschewski said the automation testing is only the beginning.
"We've only just started,” said Gollschewski told a business lunch.
"We've got these various technologies and in their own right they're providing benefits, but we still haven't got it working as a mine automation system that is fully functioning.
"There's a lot of technologies that we're working on that start to get these different things talking to each other that will further drive efficiencies."
In the process of automating Rio Tinto's iron ore mines the number of staff and drivers will be reduced.
"Roughly speaking there's around a third less people involved in load haul but the overall skill levels of that group increase," Gollschewski said. "We probably employed less people than we would have done."
Since unveiling the project in 2008, Rio Tinto’s driverless technology has hauled more than 200 million tons of iron ore. The company hauled 290 million tons in 2014.
As the Mine of the Future™ continues to take shape, Rio will continue to invest in driverless technology and big-data utilization to improve mining operations. Rio's AutoHaul™ program is expected to have up to 41 autonomous trains installed in its newtwork by the second half of 2015.
(Source: The Australian)
Coal India Secures First-Of-Its-Kind Digital Deal
Coal India Limited (CIL) has appointed Accenture Solutions to digitally transform seven of its open-cast mines as the company strives to improve performance and increase coal production. Accenture is due to lay down digitalisation groundwork until March 2022.
The deal aims to increase coal production by 100 million tonnes (MT) by the end of FY’23. Once the minimum quantity has been surpassed, an agreed sum will be paid to the consultant for every additional sum of coal produced. This success fee will only be paid on the procurement of the minimum assured quantity.
The move will see heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) fitted with digital sensors to monitor performance efficiency at all levels. Additionally, modern data analytic techniques aim to increase mine productivity and project monitoring through functional system management and effective observation.
An Exciting Venture For Global Mining
CIL, which aims to provide energy security in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner, hopes the move will help transform the entire business of mining operations and ensure higher volumes of coal are acquired at a lower cost.
“This is a first of its kind initiative by the company utilising digitalisation to ramp up coal output,” CIL has said.
A Digital Step Towards Enhanced Performance
Digitalisation is expected to take place at open-cast mines in Kusmunda, Gevra, Dipka of Southern Eastern Coalfields (SECL), Migahi, Jayant, Dudhichua, and Khadia of Northern Coalfields (NCL). Nearly 32% (188 MT) of CIL’s 596 MT output in FY’21 was accounted for by the seven selected mines. However, this new deal is set to see a large increase following the subsequent digital changes due to be made.
“Learning from the outcome and success of this model, we may replicate it in our other large mines,” says CIL, optimistic about the future following the modernisation of their mining.
It is expected that the move will help address roadblocks and guarantee corrective measures are put into place, ensuring the company is able to move forward with its aim of increasing output whilst remaining sustainable and eco-friendly.