VIST Group and SUEK test autonomous BELAZ trucks in Khakassia mine

SUEK-Khakassia is testing robotised coal haulage based on the BELAZ-7513R mine dump truck. The technology is being deployed by VIST Group (part of Zyfra Group) – a leader in the digitalisation of mining and metals companies. BELAZ dump trucks with a haulage capacity of 130 t are operating in the Chernogorsky pit (Abakanskoye open pit mine, Chernogorsk, Khakassia, Russia) in tandem with an EKG-8U excavator.

The unmanned vehicles move along a designated 1,350 m section of the mine carrying overburden rock. They are currently being optimised for the specific geological conditions of the mine in order to maximize haulage cycle efficiency. In the future there are plans to operate the robots around the clock, and this cycle will be repeated without the need for direct human involvement in the process.

“Today we not only need to demonstrate how efficient the robots are, but by deploying modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things to improve the efficiency of the company’s entire production chain” notes Igor Bogachev, CEO of Zyfra Group.

The simultaneous movement of several dump trucks within a single section is the most technologically complex part of the project. To enable two vehicles to pass each another, special algorithms have been developed allowing each truck to select the optimal sequence of movements. The section also contains an intersection with a general-access haul road, which the vehicles negotiate with the help of a specially designed algorithm for automated control of access barriers and traffic lights.

“Testing the driverless dump trucks in a real mining environment is an important step in implementing unmanned extraction and haulage technology. Wе’re working on this project together with our technology partners SUEK and BELAZ, and I’m confident that the success of the project will be important stage of development for all involved,” commented Dmitry Vladimirov, CEO of VIST Group.

In previous tests, a dump truck moved continuously for 24 hours at the BELAZ test site, completing 500 process cycles. The main anticipated impacts of the use of robotised equipment are a reduction in repair costs and changes in mining parameters (width of loading zone and roads, changes in pit slope angles). Robotised dump trucks are an integral part of the VIST Group Intelligent Mine project, which is developing technologies for fully automated control of extraction and haulage processes in mining enterprises.