Steer deploys remote control enabled dozer for Sibelco at its underground mine in Stjernøy

A remote-controlled Caterpillar D8 dozer is now ready for operation at Sibelco’s underground nepheline syenite mine in Stjernøy, northern Norway. The technology from Norwegian company Steer AS, is enabling Sibelco to increase production at the plant with environmental benefits. It is an important development as it shows an example of one of the world’s largest industrial minerals companies embracing automation beyond the traditional large metallic miners.

Not only that but it is another major project for Steer AS, a Norwegian company that specialises in remote controlled construction equipment and autonomous haulage. Its AHS has already been proven at Romarheim AS, a 2 Mt/y quarry owned by DC Eikefet Aggregates AS for whom it has automated a fleet of Cat 772G mining trucks including an Object Detection System developed by Steer, comprising LiDAR sensors with Steer’s own software allowing system decision making.

For this example with Sibelco, the remote control system allows the operator to manage the bulldozer from an operator chair in the control room with video feed from cameras mounted on the machine.

Håvard Dyrkolbotn, the Mining Manager at Sibelco in Stjernøy, expressed his satisfaction with the delivery: “It will improve our productivity and safety in the mine. It enables us to dispose of byproducts efficiently, and thereby reduce our environmental impact. The bulldozer will push excess material out into a several hundred metre deep shaft inside a tunnel system. Due to risk of falling rock from the tunnel roof the operation would be unsafe to perform manually. We are happy with the system performance and look forward to continuing our collaboration with Steer in the future.”

The CTO of Steer, Lars Tronsmoen on the delivery: “It has been a pleasure to cooperate with Sibelco in Stjernøy. They have shown great interest and trust in us and our solution, and we are happy to see that it has met their expectations and needs. We have worked hard to deliver a functionally safe and high-quality product. We are grateful to Sibelco Stjernøy for trusting us as their partner, and we hope to pursue future opportunities with them, such as other remote control applications or our autonomous haulage solution.” Sibelco also operates an open pit mine in the same location.

Steer AS is a pioneer in the field of autonomous and remote controlled construction equipment. The company’s history dates back to the clean-up of the Hjerkinn military firing range, where remote-controlled machines were needed to ensure the safety of the workers. Steer builds on experience from the development and delivery of remote control systems for construction machinery and says it is constantly developing its advanced solutions. 

Steer offers remote control systems for heavy machinery and autonomous haulage solutions for the mining and quarry industry. The company says its mission is to provide solutions to improve safety, sustainability and productivity in the construction, quarry and mining industry.