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Vale Will Begin Tests on Autonomous Haul Trucks in Carajás Iron Ore Mine in Para

Mining News - Published on Mon, 11 Nov 2019

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Brazilian mining giant Vale announced that autonomous operation of haul trucks is set to start at Carajás iron ore mine in Pará. The autonomous truck project arrives at the world's largest open-pit iron ore mine following a successful deployment at Brucutu mine in Minas Gerais. Combined with a staff development and training plan, the innovation aims to increase the safety of operations, in addition to generating environmental benefits and a competitive edge. Equipment testing is planned to begin in November with two trucks. Innovation has already been implemented at Brucutu mine, in Minas Gerais state, which this year began operating exclusively with autonomous haul trucks, amounting to 13 vehicles. Carajás mine will operate with autonomous and conventional trucks. Completion of the testing phase is planned to June 2020, when the autonomous vehicles begin to operate. The number of vehicles will increase year by year and, depending on the test results, it may reach 37 in 2024.

Two autonomous trucks are expected to start the testing phase in an isolated area of Carajás mine by the end of November. Training of the operators began in October. In addition, three autonomous drills started operating in the mine last year.

In an autonomous operation, trucks are controlled by computer systems, GPS, radar, and artificial intelligence, and monitored by operators in control rooms located miles away from the operations, providing more safety for the activity. When risks are detected, the equipment shuts down until the path is cleared. Sensors of the safety system can detect larger objects, such as large rocks and other trucks, as well as people near the roads.

Compared to the conventional transport model, productivity of the autonomous operation system is higher. Based on the technology market data, Vale expects to increase the useful life of equipment by 15%. Fuel consumption and maintenance costs are also estimated to be reduced by 10% and the average speed for trucks will increase.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Mon, 11 Nov 2019
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