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BHP will transition its South Flank mine to autonomous haulage, less than a year after first ore was produced at the Western Australian site. Autonomous haulage will be phased in across five Autonomous Operation Zones (AOZs), beginning in June 2022, with the company flagging a number of new roles at the site following the transition.
By September 2023, the entire fleet of 41 Komatsu 930e haul trucks at South Flank will be converted for autonomous operation, along with about 180 other pieces of equipment that support mining operations including excavators, dozers, front-end loaders, water trucks and site vehicles.
According to a statement from BHP, the introduction of autonomous haulage is expected to deliver far-reaching safety, production and equipment utilisation and reliability benefits, plus new skills and opportunities for the mining and maintenance teams.
“The introduction of autonomous haulage will also open up a new set of career options within BHP, with up to 60 specialist roles being created to ensure the pits are able to run autonomously, and the machines are kept operational,” the company stated.