Newcrest and Epiroc to deliver industry semiautonomous integrated production line
Epiroc has announced a partnership with Newcrest to deliver the mining industry a semiautonomous integrated production line.
Newcrest’s Cadia Valley Operations (Cadia) has successfully implemented the first semiautonomous integrated production level at its Cadia East Underground Mine.
The Mining Innovation and Automation Team (MIA) at Cadia has undergone a series of project stages and because of the project’s success, has now moved into full operation as the site prepares for automation to be a standard part of its future operations.
Cadia’s General Manager, Aaron Brannigan, said the MIA team is changing the way the site operates. Not only is Cadia operating a semiautonomous integrated production level, but the team has also developed industry leading technology that integrates automation into all third-party mobile equipment on the level.
“Innovation and technology is the way of the future and the mining industry is no exception. We see automation as the future of our Cadia East Underground Mine and through our industry partnership with Epiroc, we are already achieving milestones that will support this aspiration,” said Brannigan.
While a semiautonomous production level can be seen at many operations across the world, the Newcrest and Epiroc partnership is taking automation to a new level with automation capability being adopted on support equipment as well.
“Safety remains our number one focus and we are constantly looking at ways to improve our operations. The successful integration of a semiautonomous level with the capability of full autonomy presents significant safety benefits,” said Brannigan.
“The mining industry as a whole is shifting to be more innovative with an increased reliance on technology. This shift also means a shift in the skillset and specialist requirements for the business, which creates diverse career opportunities. We are already seeing this change in our scholarship and graduate programs with the introduction of new disciplines,” said Brannigan.
Epiroc Manager, Regional Application Centre, Rohan Anderson said, “Epiroc in partnership with Cadia Valley Operations is happy to have completed the latest phase of the Scooptram ST18 automated loader project.
“The autonomous system is now capable of full 24/7 production across seven drives of a whole panel cave. This now meets a key objective of Cadia’s by reducing major hazard exposure rates of manual operators on the production level and an objective of Epiroc’s of having a fully developed autonomous system.”
“The team is now planning support of the system and further expansions to other parts of the mine, integration of additional third-party equipment, and further development of the system,” said Anderson.
Photo courtesy of Epiroc: This image shows a control room setup with Epiroc's Scooptram automation multimachine solution.