Back in March 2020, ASI Mining signed a subcontract with Epiroc to supply its autonomous haul truck solution to the 60 Mt/y Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara. The signing followed the award by Roy Hill to Epiroc, a global leader in mining equipment and drill automation, as the prime contractor for the project in February 2020. In all, ASI Mining is to supply the technology and systems to convert Roy Hill’s mixed fleet of 77 haul trucks from manned to autonomous operation.
Other players are also involved – for vehicle conversions to Drive-by-Wire capability, ASI is utilising its partner Danfoss, a major supplier of hydraulics and electronically controlled components for haul trucks, while the mine is already utilising the latest interoperable FMS technology from Wenco International Mining Systems. On the ground autonomous integration specialist Sedna has been helping ensure operational readiness to accept the technology particularly in relation to networks and command centres.
So what has been achieved so far? As with all latest technology projects like this there have been some initial delays due to the pandemic, but Roy Hill told IM that things are very much on track. “Roy Hill’s autonomous haulage project has completed its initial start-up phase and has moved into production testing at the company’s Pilbara mine. A fleet of seven trucks have been converted using the Epiroc/ASI Mining autonomous haulage solution. This interoperable conversion kit has been fitted to both Hitachi EH5000 and CAT 793F trucks enabling load and haul circuits to commence in a segregated autonomous operating zone. Having established a stable haul circuit, work is progressing on optimisation and testing across additional mining scenarios. Another core feature of Roy Hill’s innovative AHS program is an open architecture approach, allowing existing and new systems to work together to deliver superior outcomes. We recently commenced testing the dispatching interface between Roy Hill’s existing fleet management system Wenco and ASI Mining’s Mobius traffic management software.”