Tag Archives: Goonyella Riverside

Autonomous haulage under review at Escondida, Spence, BHP says

Having approved three more autonomous haulage projects across its iron ore and coal portfolio since late 2019, BHP is now taking aim at its Chile copper operations, with the potential for automated trucks currently being studied at Escondida and Spence, the company says.

Alongside the potential for autonomous trucks, drills are being converted to autonomous operation at Escondida and Spence, according to the company.

The news came within the company’s financial year 2020 results presentation today, which showed BHP generated underlying EBITDA of $22.1 billion and attributable profit of $8 billion over the 12-month period.

Since late 2019, BHP has announced and is implementing three additional autonomous haulage projects at mine sites across its coal and iron ore segments.

At the Daunia coal mine in central Queensland, it announced the introduction of 34 autonomous trucks in July 2020, with the first trucks set to begin operating in February 2021 and the rollout to be completed early in 2022.

At the Newman East (Eastern Ridge) iron ore mine in Western Australia, the first of 20 autonomous trucks began operating in July 2020, with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of this year.

At the Goonyella Riverside mine in Queensland, the first coal site to implement autonomous haul trucks, the deployment of 86 autonomous trucks is expected to be completed early in 2022, it said.

“We will continue to assess the value case for potential expansion of this technology to our other Australian iron ore and coal mine sites,” the company said in the results statement today.

BHP studying autonomous haulage at Eastern Ridge, Daunia

Having previously said it was weighing up a project to automate around 500 haul trucks across its Western Australia Iron Ore and Queensland Coal sites, BHP has shed more light on its autonomous haulage plans.

The company made the ambitious admission in May 2019. It has since said it will introduce autonomous haulage at the BHP Mitsuibishi Alliance Goonyella Riverside mine, in Queensland, in a staged project that will see up to 86 Komatsu trucks converted to autonomous mode.

In its half-year results released today, BHP said of the 500 haul trucks it previously spoke of 150 are currently “under feasibility or execution” and 350 are included in its “medium-term plans”. Two projects in the former category include the Eastern Ridge mine site, in the Pilbara, which the company is currently using as its proving ground for innovation, and the 4.5 Mt/y Daunia coal mine, in Queensland, which BHP opened in 2013 and has a fleet of 16 226-t payload trucks (including Cat 793Fs).

In terms of capital expenditure, these projects were expected to cost less than $800 million, including $250 million for sites in feasibility and execution and up to $550 million included in the medium-term plans, it said.

BMA to automate haulage operations at Goonyella Riverside coal mine

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) says it will implement autonomous haulage at its Goonyella Riverside coal mine, in central Queensland, next year.

BMA Asset President, James Palmer, said haul trucks would be retrofitted with autonomous vehicle technology, allowing the completion of an extensive study and engagement with the workforce, community and all levels of government.

“Autonomous haulage will help us improve safety and productivity performance, and it is our people who will be at the centre of making this change a success,” he said.

“While the first autonomous vehicles will not operate at the site until 2020, and full roll-out will take around two years, we want to give people in our workforce and the community as much notice as possible of this change,” Palmer said.

The introduction of autonomous haulage at Goonyella Riverside will involve the staged conversion to an autonomous fleet of up to 86 Komatsu trucks over the next two years. It will build on the mine’s strong production record by increasing truck hours and delivering more consistent cycle times, according to BMA. Haulage automation is also expected to improve safety by reducing risk exposure and decreasing significant events.

There will be no forced employee redundancies at Goonyella Riverside as a result of this decision with respect to autonomous haulage, according to BMA. With recent recruitment of new permanent positions in BHP Operations Services and creation of new roles through autonomous haulage, overall permanent job numbers across BMA operations will increase, the company said.

Palmer said BMA’s long term commitment to the region is underpinned by a responsibility to provide training opportunities for local workers to ensure they have access to the skills and capabilities to succeed in the future of mining.

To help prepare for Goonyella Riverside’s autonomous future, it is estimated over 40,000 hours of training will be delivered, ranging from general awareness to extensive training for those operating equipment, interacting with the autonomous haul trucks, or taking on new roles.

As BMA’s first site to implement autonomous haulage, Palmer said BMA had been talking to its workforce and the local community about the potential for increased automation of mining operations for several months leading up to today’s announcement.

“We understand that automation represents a significant change. It also offers a unique opportunity for people to gain new, highly valued skills,” he said.

No further decisions have been made to implement autonomous haulage at any other site in BMA’s Queensland Coal division, with the company saying any future decisions to implement autonomous haulage will be made on a site-by-site basis.

The first autonomous trucks are expected to be operational in the first half of 2020.

Downer receives two-year extension at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside coal mine

Downer EDI says it has been awarded a A$200 million ($134 million) contract extension to provide mining and related services at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Goonyella Riverside coal mine, in Queensland, Australia.

The two-year contract commences today and replaces an existing agreement that commenced in 2016 and expired on September 30, 2019. It also has provisions for it to be extended for up to a further three years.

The scope of work to be carried out by Downer under the contract is pre-strip overburden removal, with Downer intended to use existing capital equipment to carry out this task.

Chief Executive Officer of Downer, Grant Fenn, said: “Downer has been working closely with BMA at a number of mine sites for many years and we look forward to continuing to provide safe and productive services at the Goonyella Riverside coal mine.”

Downer is providing similar services in Queensland at the likes of Blackwater, Goonyella, Commodore and Meandu mines.