Ro­bots will take over: Hi­tachi

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - EL­IZ­A­BETH FABRI

“Such ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy are pre­dicted to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duce costs by up to 25 per cent.”

WITHIN a decade Aus­tralian mines will be op­er­ated al­most en­tirely by au­tonomous ma­chines, ac­cord­ing to global group Hi­tachi.

Game-chang­ing tech­nolo­gies such as re­mote and in­te­grated op­er­a­tion centres, driver­less ve­hi­cles, and ad­vanced analytics are set to be “com­mon­place” across the en­tire in­dus­try by 2030.

“Such ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy are pre­dicted to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duce costs by up to 25 per cent, which will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on re­tain­ing Aus­tralia’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in the Asia Pacific re­gion, in ad­di­tion to ma­jor pos­i­tive so­cial im­pacts such as the abil­ity for min­ing em­ploy­ees to work in metropoli­tan ar­eas,” Hi­tachi stated.

“Hi­tachi also pre­dicts that by 2030 most mines will have fully in­te­grated IoT sys­tems that will connect all min­ing op­er­a­tions to cen­tral analytics hubs where strate­gic de­ci­sions can be made and im­ple­mented thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away from the min­ing site.”

Hi­tachi’s views were echoed days later by Anglo Amer­i­can tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Tony O-Neill at the Mines and Money con­fer­ence in Lon­don.

Mr O-Neill said in five to seven years “the in­dus­try that ev­ery­body cur­rently knows will be un­recog­nis­able” and Anglo’s em­ploy­ees of the fu­ture would only need to fo­cus on man­ag­ing the com­pany’s re­la­tions with Gov­ern­ments and com­mu­ni­ties near its mines.

Bots or soft­ware that could ex­e­cute so­lu­tions would be es­sen­tial to un­der­ground min­ing, he added.

Tech­nolo­gies of this scale were al­ready be­ing rolled out by some of the na­tion’s big­gest pro­duc­ers— BHP, Rio Tinto, and more re­cently Fortescue Me­tals Group and Roy Hill.

In De­cem­ber Rio Tinto iron ore chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Sal­is­bury an­nounced in 2018 the Rio Tinto board will seek ap­proval to de­velop an “in­tel­li­gent” iron ore mine at a cost of $2.2 bil­lion.

The Koodaideri project would pro­duce about 40 mil­lion tonnes of iron ore a year from as early as 2021, and in­cor­po­rate the lat­est in­no­va­tions.

“We will bring all our tech­nolo­gies into a sin­gle place with a mine that is pur­pose-built to adapt those tech­nolo­gies,” Mr Sal­is­bury told Reuters. “We are call­ing it our in­tel­li­gent mine.”

Im­age: Hi­tachi.

Hi­tachi’s 2017 So­cial In­no­va­tion Fo­rum in Bris­bane.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.