Caterpillar Inc. is turning dreams into reality for Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group as the two continue their quest in developing FMG’s Solomon iron ore mine into a fully autonomous mine site.
The equipment manufacturer has released a new video detailing their journey into the autonomous world.
"Caterpillar is pleased to team with Fortescue and Leighton Contractors for the operations of our autonomous mining solution," said Chris Curfman, Caterpillar Global Mining President, Mining Sales & Support.
"Working with all the partners, we look forward to managing the entire Cat MineStar System suite of technology products at Solomon in order to drive process efficiency, increase productivity and enhance safety. The Solomon project is an excellent fit for our progression to the next level of technology and sustainable mining—with the ultimate goal of delivering greater value for our customers."
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Fortescue Metals Group began their journey with Caterpillar in 2012 when the miner implemented Cat’s MineStar technology in the first phase of Solomon. As part of its autonomous mining solution for phase two, FMG commissioned eight Command for hauling Cat 793F CMD trucks in 2013. Over the next several years, the miner is expected to ramp up its fleet of autonomous trucks to 45.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said: "At full operations, Solomon will have a workforce of about 1200 people. Autonomous haulage will provide a highly efficient, productive and safe environment that complements manned operations. It also provides new opportunities for people with different skill sets and enhances safety through reduced interaction between heavy equipment and people in mining areas utilizing collision avoidance technology."
The Solomon iron ore mine is located in the Hamersley Ranges of Western Australia, 60km north of Tom Price and 120km to the west of the Chichester Hub.