BHP looks at phased rollout of autonomous trucks at WA iron ore ops

BHP CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, says the diversified miner is looking at a phased roll out of autonomous haulage technology across its Western Australia Iron Ore operations following success at its Jimblebar mine.

BHP opened Jimblebar, located 40 km east of Newman in the Pilbara, back in 2014 and soon started using it as one of the main testbeds for autonomous trucking technology. The site went fully autonomous at the end of 2017.

Mackenzie said in the company’s half-year (to end-December) results presentation that Jimblebar’s fully autonomous trucks were now “amongst our safest and most productive”. He added: “This success will guide a phased roll out across other operations.”

In terms of automation, the company also said it was studying the use of autonomous drills at its majority-owned Escondida copper mine in Chile, in addition to carrying out further trial integration and automation technologies at its Eastern Ridge Innovation Mine.