AMSJ » Proponent starts delivering 150 driverless trucks

Proponent starts delivering 150 driverless trucks

MinRes driverless truck
MinRes driverless truck

A diversified resources producer has received its first round of what it claims to be the some of world’s largest autonomous heavy vehicles.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) confirmed the first convoy of automated Kenworth C509 prime movers was recently delivered to the Onslow Project.

Drop-deck trailers spent more than 2.5 days towing the driverless trucks more than 1280km between Perth and the mine’s truck maintenance facility. The new single-engine road trains will be tested and checked before rolling out to the rest of the work site.

“The prime movers are being progressively fitted out with autonomous technology by autonomy specialist Hexagon. It is fantastic to see the first batch arrive in Onslow in preparation of first ore mid-2024,” MinRes director of technology and innovation David Geraghty said in a public statement.

“They will initially commence as manned operations, with trials and verifications with safety drivers to occur later in the year before we transition to autonomous operations.”

Up to 150 prime movers will use a dedicated and fenced haul road with tunnels under the North West Coastal Highway and Onslow Road.

Project manager Marcus Kenny urged colleagues not to worry about losing their jobs and to simply think of the safety benefits of removing human operators.

“Autonomy in mining is not about replacing people – it is about taking them out of dangerous situations and employing their skills elsewhere,” he said.

Affected employees will be redeployed to automation specialty, dispatch, logistical, mechanical, auto electrical and other new roles.

Meanwhile, managing director Chris Ellison earlier revealed he would sell MinRes’ dedicated haul road for up to $1 billion.

News Limited speculates one potential buyer is Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners. The proponent appointed JPMorgan to handle the sale process, which was expected to be complete in the second half of 2024 at the time of publication.

Proponent rolls out 120 automated heavy vehicles
Mining giant accelerates ‘safe’ automation
Employer rolls out first Qld automated production line
$148M funding will triple driverless truck rollout.

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