Automation driving efficiencies at Hera Gold Mine


Having a haul truck reverse down long drives to backfill stopes just got a whole lot easier at the Aurelia Metals’ Hera gold mine in New South Wales after underground mining contractor Pybar’s decision to trial RCT’s latest automation solution, the ControlMaster® Haul Truck Guidance.

The gold and lead zinc project increased productivity and reduced machine damage after equipping two of Pybar’s Caterpillar AD45 ejectors with the intuitive solution that simply guides the machines to the loading and dump points; only requiring operator intervention when the machine is being loaded.

The automation solution not only significantly increases tramming times and reduces damage to the loaders, it removes the need for back stripping for truck tips and for putting turning points in the orebody; eliminating any associated risk of stope instability.

RCT’s ControlMaster® Haul Truck Guidance is being successfully trialled at Aurelia Metals’ Hera gold mine.

Pybar’s Chief Operating Officer Brendon Rouse said the system was significantly improving the company’s ability to safely and efficiently direct tip waste into a stope.

"The Haul Truck Guidance solution has eliminated the need for operators to steer the truck down the long drives, and the need for developing truck turnaround bays near the stope tip heads, the system works in a similar way to the current Guidance system fitted on several of Pybar’s production loaders at numerous other sites."

Brendon Rouse, Pybar’s Chief Operating Officer

RCT’s Product Manager Dave Holman said this solution evolved from the ControlMaster® Loader Guidance solution.

“It was specifically designed for the haul truck application after feedback from clients made us aware of the issues they were experiencing on site which included costly damage bills and erratic production results, RCT redesigned both the hardware and software to suit the requirements and a close collaboration with key mining companies ensured our unique solution was addressing all areas of concern.”

Dave Holman, RCT’s Product Manager

The automation solution is equipped with Guidance technology to ensure the operator avoids running into walls and obstacles to keep the truck on the optimal tramming path. In addition to this the steering, braking and speed of the truck are automatically determined by the minimum width of the drive and the look-ahead distance of the on-board laser units. There is also an object detection feature which further assists in tight areas.

“Automating the process simplifies the task of driving a haul truck long distances within tight space limitations to deliver consistent cycle times while heavily reducing machine damage simultaneously,” he said.

Mr Rouse said given the success of the trial at Hera, Pybar was evaluating its application at other sites.

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