Boliden has decided to introduce Komatu’s FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) on 11 haul trucks at its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden, in the process becoming the first company to introduce AHS in the European Union.
The investment, which will see 11 930E-5 ultra-class trucks automated, is for a total of SEK218 million ($25 million) and will be fully implemented during 2024.
While the production rate at Boliden Aitik remains constant, the required transport work is increasing with the size and depth of the mine, Boliden explained. Automation of the haul truck fleet will increase productivity and asset utilisation in order to meet increased transportation demands in the mine while retaining world leading cost competitiveness, according to the company.
Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden, said: “Haul truck automation in Aitik is securing that the mine will stay in the position as the world’s most productive copper mine, while continuing to deliver copper with industry leading climate performance.”
Apart from the technical aspects, the project will include in-depth training of mine staff, both for current and new roles. The expectation is that the work environment will become safer and more attractive with the introduction of automation, Boliden added.
In September, Komatsu announced that mining companies had hauled more than four billion metric tonnes of materials leveraging its FrontRunner AHS, with the milestone achieved just in advance of MINExpo 2021.
First deployed in 2008 at Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral (Gaby) copper mine in Chile, AHS brings together Komatsu ultra-class dump trucks with Modular Mining’s DISPATCH Fleet Management System. Since start-up, zero system-related injuries have been reported, according to Komatsu.
Alongside automation, Boliden is also investing in trolley assist operations at Aitik where it has plans to deploy more than 10 trucks on around 3.5 km of electric trolley line.