Tag Archives: Cat

Fortuna Silver Mines readies for mid-2023 gold pour at Séguéla

The initial mining fleet has arrived at Fortuna Silver Mines’ Séguéla gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, ahead of planned commissioning in the June quarter, the company has confirmed.

The overall project is approximately 90% complete as of the end of January and remains on-track and on-budget for first gold pour in mid-2023, the company said.

Among the initial fleet are Cat haul trucks, an excavator, dozer and other ancillary equipment. The company says the next tranche of mining equipment is on-schedule for late-February availability. This includes a Cat 6020B 230 ton (224 t) hydraulic excavator, which is delivered and being assembled on-site; four Cat 777E haul trucks being assembled in Abidjan; one 50 ton excavator for rock-breaker, which has a hammer already on-site; one Cat D9 dozer; and two Cat 988 wheel loaders for crusher feed.

Mota-Engil, the mining contractor, has established its temporary facilities on site to support initial mining activities with construction of the permanent mining services area infrastructure progressing well.

With the completion of construction rapidly approaching, operational readiness has increasingly become the focus in preparation for commissioning of the 3,750 t/d processing plant, which is due to commence early in the June quarter of 2023. As a result of the dedicated efforts of the Séguéla management and site teams, the project is well positioned for this transition, which also represents a significant milestone for the company, it said.

David Whittle, Chief Operating Officer – West Africa, said: “Construction activities are nearing completion despite worldwide supply chain challenges. We are pleased to report commissioning remains on schedule for Q2 (June quarter) 2023. Our operational teams are being assembled with an experienced core leadership group already hired and preparing for first gold production. This will mark a significant milestone for Fortuna with Séguéla also exhibiting growth potential given the quantity of inferred resources and the exploration success on the property to date.”

Séguéla has a nine year mine life in reserves, with the initial six years expected to report 133,000 oz/y of gold production.

U.S. Gypsum and Altorfer Cat overcome logistical hurdles in AD30 delivery to Sperry

U.S. Gypsum’s (USG) Sperry mine in Iowa, USA, has added another large piece of Cat equipment to its underground loading and hauling fleet – this time a 30-t payload Cat AD30 underground truck.

Located 192 m below the surface and accessible only by a shaft measuring 1.5 m x 1.8 m, the only way to get the new equipment into the mine was to disassemble, lower and reassemble it underground.

USG has successfully commissioned three Cat® R1600 underground loaders over the last decade, relying on Altorfer Cat, the Cat dealer serving a three-state region that includes the Sperry location near Mediapolis, Iowa.

Several of the Altorfer team members responsible for the first mine transfer of the R1600s were also on hand for the AD30 transfer, including Sales Representative, Jeff Krug, and Field Technician, Chris Wolf.

“Altorfer and United States Gypsum have had a relationship for many years, starting with surface equipment,” Krug says. “When the opportunity to offer Cat mining solutions for their underground equipment materialised, the mine quickly realised there were many of the same components in the underground machines as on the surface. Parts availability and a strong service partnership made it much easier for them to switch to Cat machines.”

Since 1959, the underground Sperry operation has produced gypsum and now produces over 590,000 t/y of raw gypsum. Most of the mine’s gypsum is used in the on-site manufacturing plant, where USG makes Sheetrock® brand wallboard. Gypsum also has medicinal and agricultural uses.

The room and pillar mine has an average ceiling height of about 3 m. Gypsum is mined using the drill and blast method, then the rock is hauled to the mine’s crusher.

“The physical size of the mine has always been a limiting factor for selection of mobile equipment,” Dennis Hollingsworth, former Mine General Foreman, says. “When Cat started producing more underground equipment, it created a new choice for us – first with the R1600s, and now the AD30.”

After the successful implementation of Sperry’s R1600 fleet, Altorfer developed best practices for the mine transfer process that were shared with other dealers around the world. Taking advantage of those lessons learned, the Altorfer team spent several weeks planning and collaborating with the Sperry team before beginning the AD30 transfer.

First, the AD30 arrived at Altorfer’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa, facility, where it was adapted to the specific requirements of the mine. The bed was removed and modified so it could meet the 1.8-m height requirement for loading. In addition, tyres were replaced with a lower profile tyre to meet the maximum height requirement of the mine.

Finally, the machine arrived on the surface of the Sperry mine. Joining Wolf were two Sperry employees who also worked on the R1600 mine transfers: Mine Maintenance Supervisor, Doug Edle, and Technician, A.J. Kuisle.

“Taking the machine apart is the most important part of the process,” Wolf says. “You need to remove things in a precise order, be two to three steps ahead and have a plan for keeping track of everything.”

The team removed the rear axle and all the cooling lines and wiring harnesses from the rear frame, then separated the rear frame from the front frame. Then they tackled the front frame, removing the cab, engine transmission and front axle and lowering them into the mine. Next was the removal of the fire suppression system and wiring harnesses, as well as hoses and valves.

Once everything was removed from the front frame, the team welded on fixtures they would use to line up the frame pieces for reassembly. Then the cutting began, with oxyacetylene torches and an air arc being used to cut the frame into smaller pieces that would fit down the shaft.

Once all the pieces and parts were down the shaft, the AD30 was cleaned and the welding team put the frame back together. Then Wolf and Kuisle got busy reassembling the rest of the machine.

“It took about three weeks to get it back together and running,” Wolf said. “We were very particular to make sure that everything was assembled correctly, that there were no hoses or wires rubbing. Then we started it up and installed the bed and made sure everything was working correctly.”

Hollingsworth is proud of the teamwork involved in the machine transfer. “Getting new equipment underground has always been a challenge,” he says “Bringing a new piece of equipment underground and re-assembling it has always been a process that our mechanics take pride in being able to accomplish. Chris Wolf has a been a part of that process four times now, and I think, feels the same way. He has done a great job helping with the teardown and reassembly of all four Cat machines.”

Altorfer’s role in the life of the new AD30 didn’t stop once the machine was assembled underground. Before handing off the keys, the team took it for a test drive. When the testing was complete, Wolf provided training to the employees who would be operating the new truck.

“The training process went well,” Hollingsworth says. “Chris came in on both shifts and trained all of the operators. It’s something we’ve come to expect from Altorfer that we don’t typically get from other manufacturers.”

And finally, about four-and-a-half weeks after the mine transfer process began, the AD30 went to work.

Hollingsworth said the mine’s satisfaction with its Cat R1600s, the long life and rebuildability of Cat machines, and the quality of Altorfer’s service all contributed to the decision to purchase the AD30. “The AD30 has been a great addition to the mine fleet,” he says. “The truck is running great. The operators took to it quickly. They like the way it drives and performs.”

Just like Sperry mine’s other Cat equipment, the new machine will be supported throughout its life by Altorfer, with more new Cat machines continuing to join the mine’s fleet in the years to come.

Adriatic Metals builds underground mining fleet at Vares silver project ahead of first production

As Adriatic Metals gears up for first concentrate production at its Vares silver project in Bosnia & Herzegovina, it has revealed details of the mining fleet set to carry out work at the underground Rupice mine.

In its latest update, the company said project construction was 45% complete, with decline development progressing well – the lower decline currently being at at 210 m and upper decline at 100 m.

The majority of long-lead items and equipment orders were expected to come in on schedule, however global supply chain disruption has pushed first concentrate production from the end of the June quarter of 2023 into the September quarter, it said.

In the company’s 2021 definitive feasibility study, it shifted focus from a combined open pit and underground operation to an underground-only operation focused on Rupice, highlighting plans to mine 730,000 t/y of ore over a 10-year mine life.

In Adriatic’s most recent update, it highlighted that the fleet of vehicles required for Phase One (decline development) was on site, with delivery of Phase Two and Three vehicles commencing.

Among the fleet on site at Rupice is a Sandvik LH514i LHD, two Sandvik LH517i LHDs, a Cat 950L wheel loader, a Sandvik TH545i truck (second unit arriving in December), an Epiroc Boomer 282 jumbo drill, two Sandvik DD320 jumbos, two Sandvik DS311 rock bolters, two Titan IS26 shotcrete sprayers, three Titan BYM 6.0 underground mixer trucks and a Titan EC2 explosive charger.

Adriatic said the final project cost estimate had increased marginally from $170 million to $173 million, due to increases in engineering costs, plant and electrical equipment, including adjustments based on recent contract awards.

Milestone Cat 24 Motor Grader set for Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations

Twenty-seven years after introducing the Cat® 24 Motor Grader to the mining market, Caterpillar has celebrated the production of its 1,000th unit.

At a ceremony held on September 22, 2022, Caterpillar executives and motor grader production team members gathered in Decatur, Illinois, to celebrate the production and sale of this milestone machine. The grader, destined for Australia, was sold by Cat dealer, WesTrac Pty Ltd, to Rio Tinto’s Pilbara Operations in Western Australia.

During the event, Caterpillar team members heard from both WesTrac and Rio Tinto Iron Ore representatives, through videotaped comments. The milestone machine includes a special 1,000th unit commemorative plate.

In 1995, Caterpillar introduced the Cat 24 Motor Grader specifically designed to build and maintain haul roads at mining sites with ultra-class haul trucks. Now in its third generation, the Cat 24 offers 399-518 kW of power, weighs 61,950 kg, comes with a 7.3 m moldboard – with an 8.5 m moldboard option – and technology as standard to work wide haul roads efficiently, according to the OEM.

Sam Vedhakumar Manoharan, Caterpillar’s Vice President of Product Management, Earthmoving, said: “The Cat 24 Motor Grader was and continues to be a game changer for maintenance efficiency of the wide haul roads necessary for ultra-class trucks. We thank the many global mining operations and dedicated Cat dealers around the world for their loyalty to the Cat 24 grader.”

Today’s Cat 24 Motor Grader features more than 30% higher power, 13% more weight and a longer rebuild life than previous generations. It will also soon feature a high-performance circle design for further improved reliability.

Stephen Jones, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Managing Director of Planning, Integration and Assets, said: “For years, we have used Cat 24 Motor Graders to maintain our haul roads for our ultra-class trucks. The Cat 24 series offers a great combination of power, weight and blade width to support road maintenance coverage for our large mining fleet. We are honoured to receive the commemorative 1,000th 24 Motor Grader, and this represents the third generation we’ve used across our Pilbara mining operations.”

Elphinstone and Finning partner on range of UG mining support vehicles, including BEVs

Elphinstone says it has partnered with Caterpillar dealer, Finning, to provide a diverse range of underground mining support vehicles to suit the mining application.

With sustainability at the forefront of clients’ minds, Elphinstone has begun developing a suite of battery-electric support vehicles for underground hard-rock mining to address the increasing decarbonisation efforts and expectations of its global customer base.

This will allow Finning and Elphinstone to support their clients in achieving their ESG targets, Elphinstone said.

Elphinstone said earlier this year that it was working on delivering its first battery-powered underground support machine prototype by March 2024, thanks, in part, to a grant from the Australian Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative. The company confirmed the battery-electric solution would be for the WR810 underground service vehicle platform and “Next Gen” underground grader (graphic above).

Finning is an authorised dealer for the Elphinstone UG product line including the UG20M Grader and the WR810 Series comprising a Delivery with Crane, Water Cannon, Fuel & Lube, 6m3 Agitator and Scissor Lift.

The WR810 Series is optioned with a Tier 4 Final version of the Cat C7.1 engine to align with Canadian emission standards, Elphinstone says. The operator cabin is designed to seat three people in comfort with exceptional visibility, the company added. In the working environment a three-seater cabin allows for the complete crew to go collectively rather than deploying an additional light vehicle for personnel transport.

The partnership could see an exciting new line up from Elphinstone with the trusted service, warranty, parts and support from Finning, Elphinstone says.

Anglo’s digital vision for Quellaveco takes shape with Epiroc autonomous drill rig arrivals

Anglo American’s automation plans for its Quellaveco mine in Peru are starting to take shape, with its first automated trucks having started up in “pre-mining” mode last year and now automation-ready drills on site ahead of first ore production later this year.

The company’s most digital and autonomous mine yet, Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 t/y of copper over the first 10 years of the mine from an orebody that currently has around 1,300 Mt of reserves.

In the company’s December quarter production results today, it said construction of the project was progressing to plan, with first ore mined in October and first copper concentrate production expected in the middle of 2022.

In the first half of 2021, the operation started up four of a planned fleet of 27 autonomous Cat 794AC haul trucks as one element in a range of technologies that will help to make Quellaveco Anglo American’s first 100% digital mine.

Anglo American plans to deploy a fleet of 27 autonomous Cat 794AC haul trucks at Quellaveco

Now, the company has drill rigs on site that, by the end of this year, should be fully integrated into its in-country remote operations centre. The rigs – six fully autonomous Epiroc Pit Viper 351s and three tele-remote SmartRoc D65s – will eventually be overseen from this remote operations centre.

IM put some questions to Tito Cacho, General Manager of Quellaveco, to find out more about these rigs and what led to the planned automation leap at the mine.

IM: How did your experience with Epiroc on developing and implementing a new tele-remote drilling project at Los Bronces influence the decision to implement a fully autonomous drill fleet at Quellaveco? Did many of the people that implemented the Los Bronces project come over to Quellaveco?

TC: One of the objectives of Anglo American has been building a modern and fully digital mine at Quellaveco, incorporating the latest technologies to make this an even safer, productive and sustainable mining operation. A team of Anglo American engineers that were involved in the Los Bronces implementation have assisted in some aspects of the project in Quellaveco, bringing the benefits from our experience gained in Chile.

IM: What qualities does Quellaveco as an asset have in terms of applying autonomous drilling (aside from the fact it is a ‘greenfield mine’ you can design around automation)?

TC: We believe that Quellaveco will set a new standard. Through our experience with automation, the industry is driving towards safer and more reliable operations. This can make a significant difference not only to the mining operations itself but for our stakeholders who increasingly demand more sustainable operations.

Our team has been developing processes and procedures to build autonomy into the operational culture from day one. We are developing multifunctional skills in our operators and technicians, so that they learn about new roles and equipment operation, giving us the flexibility for people to work in any part of the process. The enthusiasm and willingness to learn and work with this new technology that we have seen in all the groups in Quellaveco has been an incredible asset.

IM: What other benefits stood out to you when evaluating fully autonomous drilling at the asset (safety, productivity, etc)?

TC: Safety is the primary benefit, and, as you know, is our most important value at Anglo American. We can distance an operator from areas of risk and put them in an environment that is safer, with less exposure to dust, noise and vibration. The operator becomes an autonomous drilling controller and is more comfortable and in a better ergonomic position. In addition, we have been able to improve the use, efficiency and precision of the equipment, and the ability to control multiple machines per person are notable benefits over manual operation.

Anglo plans to deploy six fully autonomous Epiroc Pit Viper 351s at the operation

IM: How easy is it to implement fully autonomous drilling operations in Peru from a regulatory perspective? How does it compare with other countries?

TC: Anglo American’s approach is engaging with regulatory authorities from the beginning, and that is what we have done in Peru. We believe our stakeholders see the advantages of having a modern and fully digital mine operating in the country, from a safety, efficiency and sustainability perspective.

IM: How many rigs out of the “multiple” drill rigs you ordered from Epiroc will be autonomous? What does the timeline look like from here in terms of them reaching their capacity? When will their control and oversight be integrated into the remote operations centre?

TC: Quellaveco will have six Pit Viper 351s that operate fully autonomously and three SmartRoc D65s that operate in tele-remote (operator controlled from a distance with some autonomous functions). We aim to integrate full control and oversight of the drill fleet into the remote operations centre by the second half of this year.

Sandvik and Finning partner on HVO biodiesel use in crushing, screening equipment

Sandvik’s Mobiles business unit and Cat dealer Finning say they have successfully tested hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) with C series Cat® engines without making any modifications to the engine or fuel tanks.

The test could pave the way for the renewable synthetic diesel powering large, mobile crushing and screening equipment from Sandvik, the OEM said.

Forming a part in both company’s journey towards a more sustainable future, the use of HVO reduces net carbon emissions by up to 90% compared with conventional diesel, the companies say, with the HVO used by the companies only made from renewable feedstocks certified by The International Sustainability & Carbon Certification.

Its performance is similar to regular diesel, so the power output and uptime are not compromised, according to the companies.

The companies explained: “Hydrotreating of vegetable oils is a modern way to produce very high-quality renewable diesel fuels without requiring any changes to fuel logistics, engines, or exhaust aftertreatment devices. Unlike other biodiesels, HVO is not sensitive to low or high temperatures, or indeed to exposure to sunlight, as all oxygen is removed during the production process. Also, due to the use of hydrogen in the production process, HVO has an impressive shelf life, compared to other biodiesels. Since no iron or system changes are required, it can be considered a drop-in replacement for diesel.”

Jesper Persson, Vice President Life Cycle Services at Sandvik Mobiles, said: “We are committed to using engineering and innovation through our products to make the shift towards more sustainable business. With a host of innovations in the pipeline, including electrification of our offering, we are excited to be pioneers in the industry and invest in renewable fuel sources sustainable rock processing solutions.

“Working alongside Finning to performance-engineer the feasibility of HVO means we can collect data and monitor any impact on the performance and output. It’s an exciting step in our contribution to sustainability and we will work together with our customers and suppliers for more productive, safer, and innovative solutions.”

Steffen Barrett, Sales Manager – Industrial Engines, Finning UK & Ireland, said: “As Sandvik strive to balance environmental and business sustainability, we are ready to provide the solutions they need to achieve their goals. Our customers’ priorities are evolving toward a carbon-reduced future and our products and services are evolving with them.

“We are actively supporting the use of plant-based and waste-derived fuels in our engines as alternatives to traditional fuels. Our engines are engineered for use with a range of renewable fuels, including up to B100 HVO (EN15940 or ASTM D975), that have a significantly lower net carbon footprint than conventional diesel.”

Cat to bolster MineStar Edge platform with Guide and Surface Management additions

Caterpillar has added two new capabilities to its cloud-based MineStar™ Edge platform – MineStar Guide and Surface Management.

Accessed alongside Equipment Tracking and Production Recording data from the same office computer or tablet in the field, the additions further augment the Cat® MineStar Solutions suite of technologies.

Edge, Cat says, features the latest technology advancements to measure, manage and optimise mining operations. Using data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence, it continues to grow as it collects data, identifies patterns and learns to make decisions.

Guide, available in early 2022, serves as a new platform for high-precision on-board, while Surface Management is an enhanced office platform for Guide, which is currently in development.

Using the advanced capabilities of the Edge platform and the most advanced GNSS technology, MineStar Guide provides the next generation high-precision system for grading and loading operations, according to Cat. Real-time feedback improves operator efficiency and increases machine production.

Featuring a new user interface inside the machine’s cab, Guide offers intuitive operation, which makes it easier to train new operators. Its on-board, dual-receiver system offers improved machine heading and data to increase grading and loading efficiency.

Working through enhanced 3D grade control and design visualisation, Guide provides high-precision block and material identification that is automatically provided to the operator and operations. Grade, block and material designs are also automatically sent to the machine, based on location, to ensure compliance to plan, increase productivity and reduced rework.

Guide offers “stakeless” ore control and regular elevation updates, reducing the need for surveyors in the field to improve safety, Cat says, with the company claiming the enhanced level of automatic blade control provided by Guide will help reduce operator fatigue when grading to design.

Operator and production key performance indicators are sent to the machine through MineStar Edge, empowering operators to stay on schedule.

Guide demonstration units were installed on the Cat 992 wheel loader, Cat 6060 hydraulic mining shovel cab and Cat 24 motor grader displays, as well as inside the technology area, at the recent MINExpo 2021 event in Las Vegas.

3D planning with MineStar Surface Management

Accessed through the integrated MineStar Edge platform, new MineStar Surface Management delivers to the field planning and material information created in the office, Cat says. The next-generation grading and loading platform leverages data provided by Guide-equipped machines for precise execution of planned versus actual production.

With the new Edge platform, Surface Management allows reports to be viewed on office computers or in the field on laptops and mobile devices. Its 3D visualisation of virtual and augmented reality substantially improves project progress viewing, Cat says. The mobile platform gives users the ability to zoom and rotate on particular areas of the site for a more detailed view.

“A powerful material management tool, Surface Management automatically generates fused digital modelling from multiple data sources for improved accuracy,” the company said. “It tracks haul roads, dumps, loading areas and other truck destinations.”

Users can review designs, blocks in progress and as-built areas. Reporting capabilities include timeline advance and comparison with swipe to previous or future and volume calculation. Increasing program flexibility, Surface Management gives customers the freedom to choose the reporting method, according to Cat.

Cat says dozens of mine sites rely on Edge’s Equipment Tracking and Production Recording capabilities with fleet installations ranging from fewer than five to more than 80 machines.

New Cat 6040 hydraulic shovel receives added engine configuration, new undercarriage

Caterpillar has revamped its 6040 hydraulic mining shovel with an added engine configuration to meet US EPA Tier 4 Final and EU Stage V emission standards, new heavy-duty undercarriage, as well as enhanced integration to improve servicing efficiency and parts sourcing.

The new engine configuration includes two Cat C32 engines, offering a total gross power rating of 1,550 kW. The engine package includes maintenance-free diesel oxidation catalysts and does not require diesel exhaust fluid/AdBlue or diesel particulate filters.

The new engine option joins the twin C32 configuration with optimised fuel efficiency settings to meet China Nonroad Stage III emission standards, equivalent to US EPA Tier 2, as well as China Smoke Category III limits. An engine oil extension option, plus new Cat Type 4 filters for both engine configurations, help to further reduce maintenance costs.

Connecting to Cat MineStar™ Solutions’ suite of integrated technology, new Product Link Elite comes standard on the 6040 shovel.

Product Link Elite delivers enhanced communication through a dual data path, allowing data transfer to both the local server and cloud simultaneously. Caterpillar’s next generation of on-board hardware, Product Link Elite features an easily configurable interface and customisable data-push frequency, Cat says. Information transfer from the equipment can be configured via cellular, satellite or mine network connection to meet the mine site’s needs.

The new 6040 shovel delivers increased uptime with its heavy-duty undercarriage, Cat claims. Improved heavy-duty load rollers and idlers now feature duo cone seals, steel-back bronze bearings and fixed axle technology to increase service life and eliminate overheating during travel. Track pad, tensioning and wear updates deliver a higher level of durability and reliability to lower operating costs. Retrofit kits for the heavy-duty rollers are available for field units to improve existing fleet reliability.

Like previous series, the new 6040 shovel can be equipped with backhoe or Cat TriPower™ Face Shovel front end designs. To deliver high machine reliability in harsh mining conditions, the rugged front attachments feature high-strength steel and castings, joined and thermally stressed-relieved, to extend service life and achieve production targets. With its 39.6 t bucket payload, the 6040 shovel offers an optimal four-pass match with the Cat 785 haul truck, five-pass match with Cat 789 and six-pass match with Cat 793 mining trucks, Cat says.

For the first time, the new Cat 6040 hydraulic mining shovel fully integrates the undercarriage, engine module, superstructure main frame, carbody and crawler frames, hydraulic lines and motors, and counterweight into Caterpillar systems to improve servicing efficiency and parts sourcing.

Immersive to supply simulators, solutions for Rio’s Gudai-Darri automation

Rio Tinto has enlisted the help of Immersive Technologies and its equipment simulators to further its autonomous haulage footprint at the new Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The mine, which will operate Caterpillar autonomous trucks equipped with Cat MineStar™ Command for Hauling system, will use simulation-based training solutions from Immersive Technologies to address the workforce development challenges within autonomous haulage operations with a focus on improving the safety and efficiency of their operator workforce, Immersive said.

Rio has used such systems from Immersive for over 17 years, understanding the value of investing in simulators for operator capability development, including equipment productivity and reliability initiatives, Immersive said.

Rio Tinto Vice President, Human Resources, Scott Browne, said: “This is an important component of our comprehensive training program for AHS, which includes supporting new team members as well as upskilling existing employees. Gudai-Darri will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines. Preparations are well under way to ensure its workforce is ready to take on the high-tech jobs on offer.”

Focused on capability development in the usage of the autonomous system, Rio Tinto partnered with Immersive Technologies to provide a solution to support the mine-readiness schedule and objectives, Immersive said. Specific training products include a platform which simulates a Cat 6060 excavator, Cat D10T dozer and Cat 18M grader. All simulator modules are equipped with an autonomous system panel and provide a safe and effective environment for training by allowing learners to operate their equipment while interacting with the autonomous trucks and managing their work areas as required, the company added.

The simulator solution is complimented by machine pre-start inspection software, which provides a detailed visualisation of equipment components, including autonomous components fitted to machines. Additionally, a ‘Virtual Classroom’ product hosts complex autonomous procedures that immerses learners in a safe and repeatable virtual environment which enables the development of deep knowledge and muscle memory of operational procedures, Immersive said.

Greg Karadjian, Regional Vice President Australia of Immersive, said: “Immersive Technologies is at the forefront of workforce development for autonomous haulage mining operations with deployments of simulation-based training solutions in more than 17 autonomous sites globally, by utilising blended learning systems, simulation and human performance analytics our solutions are preparing the workforces of the future.”

Back in 2019, Rio, Caterpillar and WesTrac signed an agreement to supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems at Gudai-Darri, with Rio confirming the supply of a fleet of 20 autonomous 793F trucks as well as four autonomous blast drills.

Gudai-Darri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in the Pilbara. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio’s flagship iron ore product.