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WesTrac has opened an autonomous technology training centre near Collie in Western Australia – the second facility of its kind in the world.

The training centre will focus on the technical skills required to operate autonomous equipment used in the resources sector.

The project is backed by a $2.7 million funding from the Western Australian Government.

According to WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome, training has commenced at the facility, and it has received strong interest from major mining operators.

“The initial focus is training in fit-out, calibration and maintenance requirements for the conversion and operation of existing Caterpillar haulage vehicles, which are used at most major mine sites around the country,” Croome said.

“We are also planning to expand the range of courses on offer to ensure the facility caters for the skills that will be in demand as the resource sector evolves and the roles associated with that evolution become more technically advanced.”

Croome said Western Australia had the highest number of automated haulage fleets in the world and the training centre was a vital resource to support automation projects.

The facility also complements Collie’s history as a mining and industrial hub, according to Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan.

“The WesTrac Technology Training Centre is a key contributor to ensuring Western Australia becomes a global centre for excellence in mining technology,” he said.

“It not only provides future job opportunities for people in the South West and across the state, but as the only facility for Caterpillar equipment training in the Southern Hemisphere, will attract trainees from across the country and globally when our borders reopen.”

WesTrac is also open to tourism and trainee visitors opportunities at the facility.