Tag Archives: ControlMaster

RCT to equip Develop with autonomous loading options at Bellevue gold project

RCT says it is partnering with mining services company Develop to deploy state-of-the-art digital automation technology at its recently-awarded Bellevue gold operation in Western Australia.

RCT’s digital ControlMaster® solution will empower Develop with the best autonomous technology to safely manage its underground mobile equipment fleet and make consistent production gains, according to the company.

Develop was awarded work valued at around A$400 million ($280 million) at Bellevue Gold’s Bellevue Gold Mine in Western Australia back in April. The contract, which covers a period of almost four years, provides for Develop’s Underground Services division to undertake construction, development and production activities at the underground mine.

The autonomous solutions are in line with Develop’s innovative business ethos of combining impressive technology with experienced professionals to transform operations into mining powerhouses, RCT said. This will see operators use the ControlMaster Automation Centre and manage a Sandvik LH517i underground loader within the underground complex.

In the future the company will roll out additional autonomous Sandvik LH517i loaders in line with its evolving mining fleet requirements as it moves into production activities.

To accommodate a larger autonomous fleet, Develop will harness the power of ControlMaster Multi-Machine Select (MMS) and Multi-Machine Control (MMC) capabilities into its Automation Centre, RCT says.

These features mean machine operators can switch between underground loaders located throughout the mine and subsequently take control of each machine.

Develop will further support the Bellevue fleet by rolling out RCT Connect, which, RCT says, is the only available mining communications infrastructure designed to accommodate autonomous mining equipment.

The specialised Wi-Fi network will ensure consistent communications and very low machine latency between the machine fleet and Automation Centre, according to RCT.

RCT’s Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said the work at Bellevue will provide a strong foundation on which to grow a business relationship between the two companies.

“We are very pleased to be Develop’s automation technology supplier and provide cutting-edge solutions and a very high level of service from the beginning at Bellevue,” he said. “We will be there alongside Develop as they kick off autonomous machine activities and we are confident that our technology will deliver results every shift.

“RCT proudly has 50 years of experience supporting Goldfield’s mining companies and we look forward to applying all our knowledge to whatever situation Develop faces in the future.”

RCT continues to support PT Freeport Indonesia on technology journey

PT Freeport Indonesia has successfully operated one of the largest mining operations in Indonesia for decades thanks to its ability to embrace technology solutions to enhance its mining operations, smart technology specialist and Freeport supplier RCT says.

Freeport runs copper, gold and silver mines across five separate underground and surface operations in the highlands area of West Papua in Indonesia.

For over 30 years Freeport has enlisted the services of RCT to achieve its goals of making mining operations safer for workers and to optimise operations.

In the early 1990s, Freeport implemented RCT’s ControlMaster® remote control solutions across its mixed Sandvik and Wagner production mining fleet operating in the DOZ underground mine and the Grasberg open pit.

ControlMaster was the ideal solution for Freeport’s mixed mining fleet due to its ability to integrate with any machine type and grant the user effective control of the machine from a safe vantage point, according to RCT.

This has seen RCT go from supplying ControlMaster remote solutions, to performing full machine rewiring projects on-site across the underground LHD fleet. It also included deploying the ControlMaster remote control technology across the surface mining fleet, including Cat D11 and D10R dozers, and installing teleremote technology onto a Cat 994 wheel loader within the open-pit mine.

RCT has also previously commissioned ControlMaster Line-of-Sight remotes onto a variety of surface drills, including a Commando drill and Cubex drill rigs as well as a fixed position rockbreaker.

Over the years Freeport’s technology requirements have evolved and every time RCT has supplied technology in-line with changing expectations, from providing analogue communications equipment through to more current digital networks, RCT said.

At present, RCT is providing bespoke technology solutions to Freeport’s entire fleet of specialised equipment.

RCT Account Manager, Shane Smith, said the local environment presents many unique challenges and Freeport is determined to address these issues with technology, and mine in a safe way.

“Due to hazardous conditions in the underground mines, such as wet muck rushes, Freeport sought to automate water cannon trucks, mobile rockbreakers and other highly specialised equipment,” he said. “Global OEMs were not able to deliver technology to meet Freeport’s standards and so we customised our own technology to create a solution that suits their specific applications. This has been so successful that Freeport now instructs global OEMs that their machines must have an RCT solution fitted at a factory level.”

He added: “The current working relationship between Freeport and RCT is built on the foundations of many years of hard work in delivering effective automation solutions and supporting that technology.”

In 2015, Freeport asked for a RCT specialist to be deployed permanently on-site to provide a high level of support for the extensive range of automation solutions implemented across the mines.

These solutions include deploying the ControlMaster semi-autonomous technology on Cat R1700 and R2900 loaders, which can be managed by operators in Freeport’s central Remote Operation Room (ROR) on the mine’s surface.

Other projects include automating 24 chute systems spread across the Big Gossan, DOZ and DMLZ mines and relocating the chute operator from the gantry to the ROR.

Freeport has also implemented RCT’s Haul Truck Operator Assist technology to optimise underground truck loading operations.

Most recently, RCT commissioned a secondary breakage fleet at Big Gossan, including Getman and Elphinstone water cannon trucks, mobile rockbreakers and Cat skid steers. The mobile rockbreakers have been commissioned with RCT’s autonomous ControlMaster technology and enables personnel to manage machine operations from the safety of the ROR.

Smith said going forward the team will enhance the Multi Fleet Select capability, which will enable site personnel to operate multiple machine types from one Automation Centre on the mine’s surface.

“We will soon have nine new Automation Centres located in Freeport’s ROR and we will fully support local personnel in the ramping up of their autonomous fleet operations,” he said. “Freeport is at the forefront of embracing technology to enhance their mining operations and we are very pleased to support them in this journey.”

RCT Line of Sight solution lowers operational risk at OceanaGold’s Macraes mine

RCT’s ControlMaster® Line of Sight dozer solution has another customer reference to hand, following a recent deployment at OceanaGold’s Macraes operation in New Zealand.

The operation installed and commissioned a RCT solution to its Cat D10T2 dozer, allowing the machine to be remotely operated in higher-risk areas of the open-pit operations, OceanaGold said.

RCT confirmed the project included its Line of Sight solution, which forms part of its ControlMaster automation and control product range.

“We have quite an extensive history working on dozers, including Cat D10Ts, so the installation went smoothly thanks to the collaboration of RCT’s Customer Service team and OceanaGold​’s site team,” a spokesperson told IM. “Our international technicians provided site personnel with remote support during the installation and commissioning process.”

Over 49 years in business, RCT says it has successfully provided more dozer control solutions than any other company in the world.

The Macraes operation on the South Island of New Zealand is the country’s largest active gold producing mine, having produced over 5 Moz of gold since 1990, OceanaGold said. The operation consists of an open-pit mine, an underground mine, and an adjacent process plant inclusive of an autoclave for pressure oxidation of the ore. The operation produced 144,487 oz gold in 2020.

Evolution enlists RCT and its Guidance Automation tech to transform Red Lake gold mine

Evolution Mining has selected RCT and its ControlMaster® Guidance Automation technology to help “transform” its new Red Lake mine in Ontario, Canada.

Evolution has embarked on a three-year investment strategy to restore the newly acquired Red Lake mine to a safe, highly efficient, long life and low-cost operation providing strong value for shareholders. This followed its acquisition of the operation from Newmont in November 2019 in a deal that could eventually rise to $475 million.

RCT has previously worked with Evolution Mining on transitioning its Mungari operations in Western Australia’s Goldfields region to its fully-autonomous technology solution.

To assist in the Red Lake turnaround strategy, RCT will commission its interoperable and scalable ControlMaster Guidance Automation technology to the underground loader fleet.

RCT says it is working closely with Red Lake’s leadership team to seamlessly integrate the new technology to enable greater productivity efficiencies to support Evolution Mining’s transformation strategy.

“The technology will unlock significant value for Evolution Mining by ensuring optimal machine performance, higher speed autonomous tramming, and reduced machine damage,” RCT said. “The technology will deliver faster production cycle times and reduced unplanned downtime across the loader fleet.”

The loaders will be controlled from either the surface-based ControlMaster Automation Centre or the customised underground Automation Centres designed specifically for easier transfer via the mine shaft hoist system.

This solution safeguards machine operators by relocating them away from hazards commonly found at the mine face and significantly reduces shift handover times, lowering overhead costs and resulting in greater site efficiencies, RCT said.

Kirsty Liddicoat, Red Lake General Manager, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with RCT to introduce modern technologies to Red Lake as part of our transformation process. RCT equipment will enable higher productivity and efficiencies from our underground scoop fleet, while improving safety for our people.”

RCT’s Mining Business Development Manager, Ryan Noden, said ControlMaster is an ideal solution to help deliver the operational transformation that is aligned to Evolution Mining’s Red Lake strategy.

“The advanced features of the ControlMaster Automation technology means Red Lake will be able to quickly achieve improved production efficiencies from its loader fleet, with a greater level of safety for its operators,” he said. “Red Lake will also benefit from selecting a truly interoperable technology provider that can collaborate closely with them to realise further mobile equipment automation opportunities as further optimisation of the asset is achieved.”

Noden added: “RCT has a proud history of delivering value to the Canadian mining sector and we look forward to continually delivering to them with our cutting-edge technology backed by our dedicated in-country support team based at the company’s facility in Sudbury, Ontario.”

Evolution’s vision is to restore Red Lake to be one of Canada’s premier gold mines sustainably producing 300,000-500,000 oz/y of low-cost gold, Jake Klein, Evolution’s Executive Chairman, has said.

RCT, Borusan Makina deliver ControlMaster solution at Kazakhstan gold mine

A major gold mining company in the Kazakhstan has turned to RCT’s state-of-the-art technology to improve safety and productivity on site by operating a Cat D10T dozer by line of sight control.

RCT worked with its local technology partner Borusan Makina Kazakhstan to commission the ControlMaster® Line of Sight solution, providing the technical support remotely to Borusan technicians who implemented the technology package for Altyntau Kokshetau LLP at the Kokshetau mine in the Vasilkovskoye gold ore field.

Unlike most original equipment manufacturer packages, the ControlMaster solution does not require specialist engineering work on-site and has a history of integrating quickly with any type of machine, RCT says.

Going forward, site personnel will use the technology package and direct the dozer to work in hazardous locations under high walls and near ledges.

In the event of a rock fall, the machine operator will be located in a safe vantage point and not in proximity to the dozer.

RCT Business Development Manager – CIS, Stephen Macarow, said: “The mine site knows RCT is a trusted and reliable supplier and can provide proven technology solutions for their particular needs. Our technology is simple to install and use on any type of machine and we have empowered the mine site with the information they need to work independently.

“We empowered Borusan’s local technicians with real-time international technical support as well as translated documentation, which, when combined, ensured a smooth installation and commissioning process. Going forward, Borusan technicians will provide local support to the mine site and will be backed up by RCT’s international customer service team.”

Macarow added: “We have worked with mining companies in the CIS region for more than 20 years and this project is just the latest success story in a long line of projects.”

RCT provided a comprehensive webinar-based training package run by one of its qualified trainers who had particular experience using ControlMaster on a mine site. The trainer conducted theory-based teaching in a classroom as well as practical hands-on demonstrations and, through a VPN network, carried out testing and diagnostics on the dozer on-site.

RCT teleremote tech to improve dozer operator safety at PNG gold mine

RCT says it has completed a project to commission its ControlMaster® technology on dozers at a major gold mining operation in Papua New Guinea.

The Australia-based automation specialist has installed and commissioned its ControlMaster Line-of-Sight solution on two Komatsu D275 dozers at the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine.

The technology packages will enable the mine operator to clear landslip in the mine’s central pit, RCT said.

Going forward, the site’s machine operators can stand at a safe distance and direct the dozers to operate beneath the pit’s highwall.

RCT Account Manager, Wayne Carrington, said the solution is an integral part of safe mine operations.

“Mine management are pleased that they can undertake necessary activities within the central pit while ensuring dozer operators are safe,” he said.

RCT says it will provide training to machine operators and ongoing after sales support as required.

RCT pushes dozer operators in a new direction at Pilbara iron ore mine site

RCT says it has completed its latest automation and control project for a major mining company at one of its iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The autonomous solutions specialist supplied and commissioned its ControlMaster® Line of Sight solution on one Caterpillar D10T2 dozer and one Cat D11T dozer and the associated remote control devices for operators.

Site operators can now stand at a safe location overlooking the production area and direct the dozers to push the site’s coarse ore stockpiles and other required activities, RCT said.

RCT Account Manager, Phill Dean, said the technology will protect site personnel while ensuring effective production.

“This project is part of a long-standing relationship delivering leading-edge technology to the major iron ore producer to ensure smooth day-to-day and ad-hoc business activities,” he said.

“The ControlMaster technology integrated seamlessly into both dozer’s operating systems enabling the operators to access the machine’s full range of functionality available by the OEM.”

RCT will provide ongoing after sales support, scheduled servicing and onsite technical assistance as required, it said.

RCT to provide online training for ControlMaster, SmarTrack solutions

RCT, like many other METS companies seeking to connect with miners despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, is bringing its training online.

Its Product Skills training can now be delivered anywhere, anytime thanks to the launch of its online training this week, RCT said.

RCT decided to make the numerous courses available online to upskill workers based in remote mine sites around the world, it said.

“This was deemed even more important due to the current global situation with the COVID-19 pandemic,” RCT’s Product Training Co-ordinator, Sunil Kumar, said.

“We live in a world where everyone wants easy, quick and convenient access to services and the technology is so readily accessible via hand held devices and laptops,” he said.

RCT’s training has expanded to encompass webinar and online training, in addition to the face-to-face training the company has always delivered at various RCT branches around the world or on site.

Participants can now choose to partake in webinar training, where they access the training via their computer and complete it in a virtual classroom. This option allows people to communicate directly with the trainer, ask questions, and interact where needed for the duration of the course.

In addition to webinar-based training, RCT also offers a self-learning option, which offers flexible learning. The courses can be completed anytime, anywhere, as it is all fully online via RCT’s online training portal.

There are numerous courses available ranging from operator and maintenance training for those using RCT’s ControlMaster® automation solutions and industrial Fleet Management solution, SmarTrack® Global.

RCT collaborates with Russian Cat dealer on rockbreaker project

RCT says it has completed a tele-remote project for Russian Caterpillar dealer Vostochnaya Technica (VT) on a fixed position rockbreaker in Siberia.

The pilot project involved commissioning ControlMaster® Teleremote on a fixed position BTI rockbreaker for a large Russia-based mining company at one of its operations in Siberia.

RCT also provided a Digital Vision Kit consisting of two fixed cameras and audio capability and a Fibre Optic Control Station (FOCS) located in site offices on the mine’s surface, it said.

RCT’s Moscow-based CIS Business Development Manager, Stephen Macarow, said the tele-remote rockbreaker was the latest RCT project to be completed at mines in the region.

“RCT was selected to carry out this project due to its experience in integrating automation technology in mining equipment of all makes and models,” he said.

“Operating the rockbreaker from the mine’s surface will safeguard machine operators while also giving them the chance to better utilise the machine’s capabilities.”

As well as installing its Teleremote technology on the rockbreaker, RCT’s bespoke solutions division custom tailored the tele-remote package to the mining company’s specific requirement, RCT said.

“RCT developed a unique auto-stow function at the request of VT and the mining company,” Macarow explained. This function means operators can push a button and retract the rockbreaker arm from the grizzly or steel grate over the ore pass and bring the machine to a parked position.

VT Technology Enabled Solutions Manager, Alexander Voroshilov, said the rockbreaker project was of significant benefit to the customer.

“In order to complete this turnkey project, the VT Technology team has done a big amount of work from equipment delivery from Australia to the mine site, customs clearance, manuals translation and certification, to on-site installation and commissioning under supervision of an RCT engineer,” he said.

“The key factor of the project success is the customer support and good collaboration with a partner, so we really appreciate our partnership with RCT and the customer assistance.”

RCT says it is continuing to provide ongoing technical and after-sales support to the mine site

Tailings, waste management automation solutions up next for RCT in South America

Having made a name for itself in South America innovating on projects for Codelco, Antofagasta Minerals, Anglo American, BHP, and many others, RCT says it is now delivering solutions for miners in the region in tailings and waste management situations.

The Australia-based company is working with various customers in the region to safeguard their operations in this field with the ControlMaster® range of automation and control solutions, it said.

RCT’s experience in South America dates back two decades.

It all began with the company’s foundation solution, Muirhead® protection systems. These were requested by a client wanting to get more longevity from their bulldozers and loaders which were machine re-builds, according to the company.

Since this initial project, the company has helped deliver fit-for-purpose solutions, encompassing all its brands, to big name clients.

“The South American mining region, in general, is well-known for its copper and gold mines, all of which are located in areas exposed to extreme weather conditions (the heat and the cold) in addition to some being positioned in high altitude locations, making for some precarious working conditions for miners,” RCT said.

“Therefore, RCT’s premier automation and control solutions – ControlMaster have and continue to be in demand in both surface and underground mining operations in the region. While RCT’s Line-of-Sight and Teleremote options dominate the surface mining market, the full automation range is in strong demand for underground mining operations.”

This journey for these solutions began in the early 2000s after RCT completed an audit for ControlMaster Line-of-Sight controllers at BHP’s Escondida mine, in Chile. The company wanted a proven solution to safeguard bulldozer operators manning the run of mine pad feeders and crushers. RCT was able to retrofit the mobile machines with the technology that removed the operators from the cab of the machine and allowed them to operate it from a safe location – ultimately solving the issue for the client, the company said.

By 2008, RCT collaborated with Hexagon Mining to engineer and deliver a bespoke solution to Codelco’s Andina mine that allowed the miner to operate safer and for longer in the lead up to the winter shut down, reducing the number of days they had to stop work. This R&D project saw the delivery of a ControlMaster Teleremote solution, paired with a Muirhead Speed Limiter and combined with Hexagon Mining’s MineOps Geofencing systems installed on a Komatsu WD600 wheel dozer.

It was RCT’s project at Codelco’s El Teniente in 2018 that cemented its reputation in the region, the company says.

RCT’s ControlMaster Automation solution helped El Teniente successfully and safely mine ore-rich mud in what, it says, is believed to be a world-first mining method in these conditions. This feat was facilitated by RCT’s specialised department, RCT Custom, which delivered the bespoke solution to minimise the risk involved in mining in these conditions.

This project required RCT to retrofit its ControlMaster solutions that were previously installed on Codelco’s mobile machines operating at its Andina surface mine site before integrating the refurbished equipment, installing them on working production loaders (Sandvik LH517s) into the existing mine network.

“The solution removed the operator from the cab of the loader and allowed them to control the machine from the comfort and safety of an Automation Station located in an underground control room of the mine,” RCT said. “RCT’s solution allowed El Teniente to recover mud ore reserves that were previously deemed too dangerous to access due to the mud flow into these areas. In addition to this, the loaders were able to tram faster, avoid walls and obstacles after being automated, which significantly increased productivity and reduced machined damage and unplanned downtime.”

RCT’s Commercial Executive, Phil Goode, said it was this project that earned RCT a strong technical reputation.

This project was also monumental for the company as it further reiterated the need for RCT to have more of a local presence and compelled the company to open an office in Santiago, Chile, last year. The team, comprised of five multilingual staff, are working hard to support our existing and new clients in the region.

“Having a team working locally helps RCT to better function in Chile and other South American, Spanish speaking countries,” Goode said. “Technically we have always been very good, but the office allows us to understand the business culture and provide that next level of support to our clients.

“Most importantly, it allows us to provide the first rate level of customer service and after sales support we have built a solid reputation on delivering to all of our clients around the world.”

Currently RCT’s solutions are being delivered in tailings and waste management situations with the company working with various customers in the region to safeguard their operations in this field with the ControlMaster range of solutions, RCT said.