The record for autonomous haulage systems in underground mining over the past 15 years is patchy, marked by many trials and attempts, with few examples of sustained operation until relatively recently. The drivers for the introduction of this technology are variously listed as the occupational health and safety of people working in underground mines, reductions in direct operating costs and increases in productivity.
This paper reviews the trends for operation of semi-autonomous and autonomous haulage achieved by underground mines and the defining features of the technology currently available. The inclusion of autonomous haulage as part of mining studies and the fundamental conditions for its successful application is discussed in the paper. The components required for an autonomous underground haulage system are outlined and the key aspects that need to support its effective implementation are examined together with their associated opportunities and risks. Special note is made of the critical role people, including executive leadership, have in ensuring the successful introduction of this technology.
The paper draws on published case study material, equipment supplier information and research findings. The aim is to offer a high-level insight into what is required for the application of autonomous haulage technology and its successful implementation in underground mines.
Pratt, A G L, 2016. Autonomous haulage systems in underground mining –
what is required for success? In Proceedings International Mine Management Conferenc, pp 35-52 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).