Mining and Heavy Industries

BHP begins rollout of autonomous Komatsu trucks at South Flank

BHP has begun autonomous operations with the first four of its 41 Komatsu 930E haul trucks at its South Flank iron ore mine, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

BHP has begun autonomous operations with the first four of its 41 Komatsu 930E haul trucks at its South Flank iron ore mine, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The transition to autonomous haulage is expected to be completed at South Flank by September 2023.

Since July 2020, a fleet of Komatsu 930E autonomous-ready haul trucks, configured as conventionally driven trucks, has been moving iron ore and materials.

In January 2022, BHP approved moving the US$3.6 billion mine to autonomous haulage, to be phased in across five Autonomous Operation Zones (AOZs), from June 2022.

Komatsu’s general manager mining automation Garry Povah said Komatsu is on track to have over 430 autonomous trucks operating in Australia by the end of 2022.

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“All 41 of the 930E’s on site are now in the process of being upgraded to fully autonomous operation, at the rate of four a month,” Povah said.

BHP expects the introduction of autonomous haulage at South Flank to deliver safety, production and equipment utilisation and reliability benefits, and offers new skills and opportunities for BHP’s mining and maintenance teams.

Komatsu Australia CEO and managing director Sean Taylor said its autonomous technology helps drive job creation, with a focus on safety, diversity, upskilling and an innovative flexible work force.

“Not only does Komatsu’s autonomous haulage technology have a proven record in safety, productivity and lower haulage costs, but we pride ourselves on our ground-breaking contributions to autonomous technology solutions in the industry,” Taylor said.

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