IT’S so far, so good for the Expanding Stiff Split Set, “quite a new concept” in mine ground support, according to respected geotechnical engineer Peter Fuller, who is working with the concept’s creator at mining consultancy, Mining One.
“THERE must be no automation without negotiation.” Could this be the clarion call from the past that starts interfering with Australian mining’s new technology message? It would seem unlikely given the quiet revolution in the industry’s processing plants over the past 20 years, but …
SUPPLIERS of mine automation technologies remain confident the industry’s high-tech investment wave is still gathering momentum despite hitting some rocks in the form of current capital spending cutbacks and curtailed project development activity.
ABB has been recognised by MIT Technology Review for its hybrid high-voltage direct current (HVDC) breaker, placing it in the 10 most important technology milestones of the past year.
HITACHI Construction Machinery (Australia) has announced that trials of its autonomous haulage system (AHS) will begin at Meandu mine on April 29, when the first of three trucks arrive from Japan. HCM has outlined plans to develop a comprehensive suite of technologies aimed at delivering an AHS solution to the global surface mining industry by the year 2017.
THE Australian developer of an advanced underground mine haul truck guidance system is examining a broad spectrum of applications for the technology after it initially demonstrated its value in a support role at Rio Tinto’s Northparkes operation in New South Wales.
THE long mooted nickel production game changer that is Direct Nickel continues to head towards a likely public offering later this year.
THE bird has already flown for Land Surveys, the Western Australian firm that recently became one of the first Australian surveying companies to offer an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mapping service.
AN Australian dust and soil management technology specialist says it has come up with a new high-performance additive for mine water-cart application that greatly suppresses fugitive dust and helps preserve road surfaces.
AN increasing awareness of the value of intellectual property among exploration and mining companies hasn’t translated into a readiness on the part of most companies to test the worth of IP assets, according to a top legal mind in the field. He and a senior colleague will explain why mining leaders should be more proactive in this area at a new series of national workshops in Australia, starting next week.
THE HOLLYWOOD version is like something out of The Matrix – all streaming data and digital landscapes. But for the experienced mining engineers out there, the ‘intelligent mine’ is a concept grounded in current realities. Not that many of them don’t mind a bit of cinematic escapism at this time of year.
THE concept of an ‘intelligent mine’ is definitely more than a marketing slogan. Yes, it’s been and is being used as one, but it is much more than that. The term conjures up images of automated machines and remote operations but these are only parts of an intelligent solution.
NOVEMBER 5: RIO Tinto remains committed to ramping up its Pilbara iron ore production to 353 million tonnes per annum from 230Mtpa by 2015, and simultaneously increasing driverless mine haulage to half the tonnes being carted around mines at that time, a senior company manager has said. With regards to the technology, that will be a steep climb off a low base, he admitted.
AUSTRALIAN UAV survey pioneer and machine guidance specialist Position Partners has introduced a MAVinci unmanned aerial vehicle into the country and is aiming the remote-controlled bird at civil construction, survey, mining and agricultural users of the technology.
‘GO forth and multiply’ is the directive from Western Areas to its BioHeap subsidiary, and with opportunities in non-nickel projects part of the equation, a diversification for the outstanding nickel miner is potentially on the cards.
OCTOBER 8: SWEDISH mining equipment manufacturer Sandvik will this year supply the “world’s largest underground mine automation system” – and the only one to “comply with … strict Australian safety laws and requirements” – at Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.
INFRARED thermal imaging specialist FLIR Systems was claiming a world first at last week’s MINExpo International show in the US: a commercially-available, wearable monitor designed to protect miners and other at-risk workers from overexposure to diesel exhaust fumes.
RIO TINTO has drilled more blastholes in a quarter with automated drills than manually operated ones for the first time at its Pilbara iron ore operations in Western Australia. This, said one of the company’s chief automation gurus Charles McHugh, was the start of something really big.
IN AN announcement with a slightly provocative tone, Swiss engineering and technology giant ABB and Brazil’s Vale have confirmed a $US140 million deal to automate the multi-billion-dollar S11D iron ore project – a “true mine of the future”.
MINE dust management strategies employed by Xstrata Coal in Australia’s Hunter Valley region have been extended to equipment operator training with the help of simulation training technology.