Caterpillar and Freeport-McMoRan are collaborating on a project to convert 33 Cat 793 haul trucks operating at the Bagdad mine in Arizona to an autonomous haulage system (AHS) using Cat MineStar Command for hauling.

“We look forward to partnering with Caterpillar to become the first U.S. copper mine to implement a fully autonomous haulage system and are excited about the numerous benefits it will bring to our Bagdad operation and employees,” said Kathleen Quirk, president, Freeport-McMoRan. “The three-year conversion project is expected to improve safety, optimize our fleet, reduce GHG emissions through reduced idle time and position us to capitalize on future technological advancements in electrification.”

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Command for hauling, Caterpillar has more than 620 autonomous trucks operating with 15 customers on three continents. While operating autonomously, these trucks have hauled more than 6.3 billion metric tons (mt) of material.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Freeport-McMoRan as they transition to fully autonomous haulage at Bagdad,” said Denise Johnson, group president of Caterpillar Resource Industries. “The Cat 793 haul truck remains Caterpillar’s most popular autonomous truck model and is well proven to enhance safety, increase productivity, and reduce idle time across multiple operations, including copper mines. Additionally, Caterpillar continues to work with Freeport, and other mining companies, to introduce new electrification technologies supporting their sustainability objectives.”

Located approximately 161 km northwest of Phoenix, Ariz., the Bagdad mine is a porphyry copper deposit containing both sulphide and oxide mineralization. The mine feeds a 77,000-mt/d concentrator that produces copper and molybdenum concentrate. The site also has a solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant that produces 9 million lb of copper cathode per year. It is one of the oldest, continuously operating SX/EW plants in the world.