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Fortescue showcase

The Christmas Creek operation in Western Australia. Image: Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has used Perth’s Resources Technology Showcase to demonstrate its autonomous Caterpillar MineStar Command fleet at the Christmas Creek operation.

Despite Christmas Creek being 1500 kilometres away in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, FMG operated a Cat dozer from the safety of the Perth Convention Centre.

The Showcase welcomed hundreds of school children and adults alike, to marvel at the innovations of Western Australia’s resources sector.

FMG chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the Showcase was at the cutting edge of mining innovation.

“Western Australia’s mining sector is the most innovative in the world, and Fortescue is pleased to be able to showcase some of the cutting-edge technology that is utilised in the sector to students and members of the public at the Resources Technology Showcase,” Gaines said.

Presenting partners at the showcase included Inpex, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, BHP, Caterpillar and FMG.

Among these giants of the sector, Gaines highlighted how FMG was a leader in the field.

“We were the first in WA to control a railway from outside a region of operation and the first company in the world to deploy Caterpillar autonomous haulage on a commercial scale,” she said.

“This demonstration of remote dozing capability builds on our reputation as a leader in autonomous solutions, which not only improves productivity but importantly will continue to improve safety for our team members.”

Cat has seen unprecedented uptake in its global MineStar Command fleet, as the benefits of autonomous technology are realised.

In May, the manufacturer accomplished the major milestone of three billion tonnes hauled using the fleet.

It was estimated that across 17 mine sites and three continents the fleet had travelled 110 million kilometres – more than twice the distance from Earth to Mars.

At FMG’s display at the Showcase, Caterpillar product service engineer Steve Dougherty said there would be even more to celebrate between the two companies in the future.

“Cat is excited to witness our long-time customer putting our remotely operated dozing technology to work,” Dougherty said.

“We look forward to helping Fortescue expand their remote operations to achieve an improved work environment for operators, create a safer work area on site and enhance machine utilisation by leveraging the efficiencies made possible by Command for dozing.”