Newmont says its Cerro Negro underground operations in Argentina have transitioned to tele-remote mode with the implementation of the Sandvik AutoMine® platform.
The transition, completed last year, is part of Newmont’s Full Potential structured and continuous improvement program that began in 2014. This program has since delivered over $4 billion in value, while serving as Newmont’s key vehicle for reducing costs and boosting productivity across its operating sites and functions.
In the company’s recent September quarter results call, Newmont Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Rob Atkinson, confirmed that Cerro Negro had become the first mine in Argentina to implement the AutoMine system for tele-remote underground loading and hauling.
“The implementation of this technology has eliminated safety risks associated with operator exposure underground, has allowed for the recovery of more ore from each of the stopes, has reduced equipment damage, and, really importantly in the Argentinian context, increased underground working time,” he said.
“We’ve had tremendous success with tele-remote operations at our Australian and Canadian underground mines, and this is yet another example of the value added through the rapid replication of leading practices across our global operations.”
Cerro Negro has three high-grade underground operating mines – Eureka, Mariana Central and Mariana Norte – and two underground deposits being developed, Emilia and San Marcos, as well as five other deposits in late-stage evaluation for development to expand the existing operations in the Marianas Complex and establish operations in the Eastern District.
The extensive Cerro Negro complex has several other deposits and exploration targets, including an open-pit mine known as Vein Zone and one cyanide leach processing facility with Merrill Crowe recovery yielding gold recoveries of 90-97%.