In March 2022, Beijing Soly, one of China’s leading suppliers of autonomous underground mine rail systems, surface mine fleet management systems (FMS) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) sent two of its engineers to Swakop Uranium for installation of its Truck Intelligent Dispatching System project in the Husab uranium mine, Namibia. Beijng Soly is a technology affiliate of iron ore mining major Shougang Mining and also has top positions in intelligent pelletising, sintering and beneficiation.
The contract was signed in October 2021 and the project is Beijing Soly’s second in Africa. It conducted detailed and in-depth research for the mine’s needs in advance and compiled a detailed design and construction plan with both Chinese and English versions for the whole system which includes functionality including weighing data unload, scanning station docking and precise ore blending control. It also compiled a Swakop Uranium Mine Editoin video operation tutorial. The FMS allows users its says the realise the seamless connection of truck weighing data, scanning station data and vehicle scheduling and optimise the management and control process. Swakop Uranium is the second largest uranium mine in the world, has the third largest uranium ore reserves in the world and the mining complex represents China’s largest industrial investment project in Africa.
Komatsu 960E at Husab uranium mine, part of a fleet of 23
The mine is located in the northern part of the Namib Naukluft National Park (NNNP), 52 km east of the coastal town on Swakopmund and south of the Rössing Uranium mine. Mining started in March 2014 and the processing plant was commissioned in December 2016. Mining is from the separate Zone 1 and Zone 2 open pits that both use a conventional truck and shovel method. One of the pits now runs the Beijing Soly FMS and the other one Modular Mining’s DISPATCH system. The mining fleet consists of six shovels that include three Cat 6060s and three Cat 7495s. In total the mine has 26 trucks, of which 23 are Komatsu 960Es, and three are Chinese NTE330s from NHL. There are 12 drill rigs, consisting of both diesel and electric models. Ancilliary equipment includes dozers and wheel loaders. The mine produces 15 Mt/y of ore to feed the processing plant designed to produce 6,000 t of uranium ozxide (U3O8) per year
Moving to China and Tibet Julong Copper, part of Zijin Mining and the largest large scale mine in the world, since March 2021, an intelligent mine production command centre has been established by Beijing Soly at an altitude of 4,698 m while a 4G dedicated wireless network base station was built at 5,500 m. The Soly intelligent dispatch system it says integrates dispatch, safety and production monitoring and is built of the theory of coordination and optimisation integrating computing, modern comms, GPS+BeiDou satellite positionining and other technologies. It delivers “situational awareness, real-time knowledge of equipment location and status plus automated production command and control. It allows for “automatic matching of trucks and shovels, intelligent optimisation of paths, reduction of transport distances, reduction of energy consumption and optimisation of production efficiency. It includes also cab monitoring and driver fatigue monitoring.” Tibet Julong Copper’s largest open pit is Qulong, which is also implementing autonomy to its mining truck fleet working together with TAGE Idriver based in Beijing and HOT Mining based in Chengdu.