Newmont to bring first autonomous haulage fleet to gold mining industry
Newmont Corporation announced that its board of directors unanimously approved investment in an autonomous haulage system (AHS) at Boddington Mine in Australia to enhance safety and productivity, while also extending mine life. Once fully operational in 2021, Boddington will be the world’s first openpit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet.
“Not only does Boddington continue to deliver strong performance, our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35 percent with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation,” said Tom Palmer, president and chief executive officer. “We are also uniquely positioned in the gold sector to support effective implementation and operation of the fleet thanks to the technical capabilities and previous experience of leaders in our business. Simply put, Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction.”
Total net investment in Boddington’s AHS will be $150 million, with efficiencies expected to extend the mine’s life by at least two years. The company also sees additional upside potential from the replication of the AHS at other Newmont operations.
Boddington’s autonomous Caterpillar haul trucks will feature rigorous safety controls that reduce employee exposure to potential vehicle interactions. No injuries have been recorded from AHS operations since their introduction into the mining industry. Newmont is also executing a robust people strategy at Boddington, providing opportunities for reskilling and redeployment of haul truck drivers to other roles supporting the AHS.
Boddington is Western Australia’s largest gold producer, delivering 709,000 oz of gold and 77 million lbs of copper in 2018. The mine directly employs approximately 2,000 people and is located 135 km southeast of Perth in Western Australia.