Advancements in mine automation technology have created many new opportunities for mining companies to increase their productivity, reduce cost and increase safety. Along with these new opportunities have come new challenges. A major challenge in the adoption of automation is people, or more specifically the re-shaping of a mining operation’s workforce to thinking and working differently. This is a key obstacle in the path of successful deployment and operation of autonomous mining systems.

At Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral “Gaby” copper mine in Chile, Immersive Technologies is developing and integrating a world-first blended learning training center for autonomous haulage. At this training center, personnel will undergo computer-based training, virtual classroom and simulator training to prepare them specifically for autonomous haulage operations.

“For Codelco Gabriela Mistral, this requirement, developed in conjunction with Immersive Technologies, provides us a customized solution including the technology with which we operate in Gaby and allows us to obtain better safety standards and productivity,” Orlando Rubilar, Codelco Gabriela Mistral mine manager.

The Gaby site ordered a Komatsu driverless truck fleet in 2008, establishing it as one of the world’s most modern copper mines. The team at Gaby is actively working with Immersive Technologies to provide knowledge on autonomous mining operations. “Our integration of autonomous haulage systems are setting the bar for the next generation of mining and our investment in Immersive Technologies’ training solutions will pave the way for the safest and most productive operations,” said Rubilar.

The introduction of autonomous operations requires thorough procedural training and assessment, with a number of “what if” scenarios introduced to ensure mastery of the new methods of operation. Immersive Technologies’ blended learning solution is planned to address this need while mitigating risk and assisting in the realization of the full potential of the new automation technology.

“Mining operations adopting autonomous systems need to train a large number of personnel in a relatively short period of time. We’ve heard an estimated 15% retention of knowledge among trainees and inconsistent field training while deploying autonomous systems. The integration of our solutions are proven to increase effectiveness, deliver consistent training and reduce human error,” said Darrell Massie, autonomous mining product manager, Immersive Technologies.