Fortescue completes world leading autonomous haulage project

Oct 28, 2020

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has celebrated an important milestone with the completion of the Company’s Chichester Hub autonomous haulage project. The project, which represents one of the largest fleet conversions to autonomous haulage (AHS) in the industry, has expanded the Fortescue autonomous haulage fleet to 183 trucks operating at Fortescue’s Solomon and Chichester Hubs.

The multi-class fleet includes Cat 793F, 789D and Komatsu 930E haul trucks and has safely travelled more than 52 million kilometres and moved 1.5 billion tonnes of material since 2013. An additional 900 assets, such as excavators, wheel loaders and light vehicles, are integrated with the autonomous fleet using CAT Minestar Command for Hauling Technology which is operated from the Fortescue Hive, the Company’s integrated operations centre in Perth, Western Australia.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said, “Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world, and Fortescue continues to build on our leading autonomy capability to deliver productivity and efficiency benefits.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has improved safety outcomes across our operations and we’re very pleased that the team achieved this important milestone in the truck conversion program to the highest safety standards.

“Our approach to autonomy has been to be open and transparent with our plans and to work closely with our team members to offer opportunities for re-training and re-deployment. Around 3,000 Fortescue team members have been trained to work with autonomous haulage, including over 200 people trained as Mine Controllers and AHS system professionals,” Ms Gaines said.

Group president, Resource Industries, Caterpillar Inc., Denise Johnson, said “Fortescue is a leader in the implementation of autonomous solutions. This important milestone further reinforces the transformation Fortescue has made with autonomy to improve safety, site productivity and machine utilisation. We congratulate Fortescue on this significant achievement.”

Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, said, “Fortescue’s autonomous haulage fleet has delivered a 30 per cent increase in productivity. Looking ahead, the flexibility of our efficient, multiclass autonomous fleet offers considerable potential for further productivity and efficiency gains.

“Our operations are more connected than ever before and by using data from our autonomous haulage fleet, we can paint an accurate picture of our operations and focus on the optimal opportunities for improvement, such as haul road design and maintenance scheduling.  

“Our autonomous haulage system is a foundational tool which allows us to streamline processes and improve outcomes, ultimately delivering increased value for our shareholders,” Mr Lilleyman said.