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Mineral Resources (MinRes) will deploy a fleet of fully autonomous road trains equipped with an autonomous haulage solution provided by Hexagon.

The deployment will happen as per an agreement between the miner and the automation specialist company that was first announced in late 2021.

The agreement concerned developing an autonomous road train solution for MinRes’ haulage fleet in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Now, MinRes will deploy 120 fully autonomous road trains to its sites.

The world’s first fully autonomous road trains were designed and developed for MinRes’ Onslow Iron project that is located 150 kilometres east of Onslow and it is expected to ship around 35 million tonnes of iron ore per year. It is expected to be one of WA’s largest iron ore operations.

The vehicles have combined technological expertise from Hexagon’s Autonomous Solutions subdivision with MinRes’ operational knowledge. They are expected to help in removing the risk of driver fatigue, increasing fleet availability, lowering operating costs and reducing fuel use and emissions.

“We’re excited to cement our partnership with Hexagon to deliver the world’s first fleet of autonomous road trains, which will be an essential part of Onslow Iron’s safe, efficient and dust-free solution for hauling ore,” Mineral Resources’ chief executive of mining services Mike Grey said.

“Automation will remove the risk of driver fatigue, lower operating costs and reduce fuel use and emissions. There’s enormous potential for these vehicles to transform mining across the world.”

Hexagon chief executive officer Paolo Guglielmini said the company views autonomy as a way to improve the world.

“Today’s agreement with MinRes will ensure that transport activities will be safer, more sustainable, and more productive. I’m excited to see how similar solutions can be applied in other markets such as agriculture and heavy industry,” Guglielmini said.