At Roy Hill, 10 autonomous haul trucks, like the above, operate 24/7 in a dedicated autonomous operating zone, interacting with excavators and small vehicles. (Photo: Roy Hill)

Roy Hill said it will expand its autonomous haulage system (AHS) from March 2023, converting its mixed fleet of 96 conventional haul trucks to driverless operation and creating the world’s largest autonomous mine.

The project’s verification phase was completed and 10 converted haul trucks, fitted with vehicle automation kits, are using ASI Mining’s Mobius traffic management and on-board automation systems to navigate while communicating with ancillary vehicles and the control room. The trucks are reportedly running 24/7 in a dedicated autonomous operating zone, interacting safely with two excavators and numerous ancillary vehicles at intersections, waste dumps and load areas.

Leadership at the mine said the AHS fleet is meeting the desired safety and productivity metrics and achieving higher productivity rates than the conventional haul truck fleet, which were key objectives of the 2-year development program supported by Epiroc.

“Roy Hill’s in a strong position to continue its transition to autonomous haulage early this year with our teams on site and at the Remote Operations Centre in Perth now skilled in autonomous operations,” said Roy Hill CEO Gerhard Veldsman.

The project’s expansion will see autonomous haul truck numbers grow throughout 2023. The autonomous fleet will ultimately comprise 54 Cat 793F trucks, 24 Hitachi EH5000 trucks and 18 Hitachi EH4000 trucks. In addition, more than 200 modified ancillary vehicles will interact with the autonomous haul trucks.

Roy Hill is a large, open-pit iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara.