Epiroc, a leading productivity and sustainability partner for the mining and infrastructure industries, will continue to support Roy Hill as it enters the final stage of its autonomous haulage system (AHS) from March 2023. This will convert Roy Hill’s mixed fleet of 96 haul trucks to driverless operation, creating the world’s largest autonomous mine.
This follows a successful two-year testing phase. Epiroc, together with automation specialist ASI Mining, since 2020 has worked with Roy Hill in Australia to develop an autonomous haul truck solution that is interoperable and scalable regardless of manufacturer, so called Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) agnostic.
The project’s production verification phase is complete, and 10 haul trucks have been converted to driverless operation using ASI Mining’s Mobius traffic management and on-board automation systems to navigate the mine’s virtual map and communicate with other vehicles and with the Remote Operations Centre (ROC) in Perth. The AHS fleet is meeting the desired safety and productivity metrics and achieving higher productivity rates than the conventional haul truck fleet, which was a key objective of the program over the past two years.
The autonomous haul trucks are running 24/7 in a dedicated autonomous operating zone, interacting safely with two excavators and numerous ancillary vehicles at intersections, waste dumps and load areas.
The project’s progressive expansion will see autonomous haul truck numbers grow steadily from March 2023 and throughout 2023. The fleet will comprise 54 Caterpillar trucks and 42 Hitachi trucks. In addition, more than 200 ancillary vehicles will interact with the autonomous haul trucks.
“The ground-breaking automation work together with Roy Hill and ASI Mining over the past couple of years has been successful and very exciting,” says Epiroc’s President and CEO Helena Hedblom. “The team working on this is doing a fantastic job, and we are now looking forward to collaborating with Roy Hill in ultimately achieving the world’s largest autonomous mine. This will bring significant benefits for both safety and productivity.”
Roy Hill is an iron ore mining project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Its ROC in Perth provides end-to-end integration of operations. “Roy Hill’s in a strong position to continue its transition to autonomous haulage early this year with our teams on site and at the ROC in Perth now skilled in autonomous operations,” says Roy Hill Chief Executive Gerhard Veldsman.
Epiroc owns 34% of U.S.-based ASI Mining.