Mining News

Freeport rolls out world-first autonomous rockbreaker fleet at Grasberg

In a world-first technology project, PT Freeport Indonesia has deployed a fully autonomous fleet of mobile rockbreakers at its West Papuan mine in partnership with smart technology specialist RCT.

PT Freeport’s corporate policies mandate safer mining practices to remove personnel from working in areas of the Grasberg Block Cave (GBC) and Deep Mill Level Zone (DMLZ) which are prone to wet muck rushes.

To fulfill this safety-driven mandate PT Freeport engaged RCT to implement its fully autonomous ControlMaster Guidance product across the rockbreaker fleet.

This project is the first time ControlMaster Guidance – which has more than 8 million hours of autonomous operation across Load Haul Dump (LHD) production fleets – has integrated with mobile rockbreakers.

PT Freeport worked with RCT’s onsite technical team to commission the four mobile rockbreakers and extensively tested the machines in the underground panel cave mines. The work forms part of PT Freeport’s overall mandate for RCT to automate the mine’s underground ancillary fleet, which includes the mobile rockbreakers, Getman Water Carts and Cat clean-up LHD machines.

In line with PT Freeport Indonesia’s overall mine development plan the fully autonomous ancillary fleet will operate in a designated Autonomous Mining Area (AMA) within GBC and DMLZ, the company said.

Going forward, machine operators will manage the ancillary fleet via ControlMaster automation centres located within the state-of-the-art Remote Operations Room (ROR) on the mine’s surface.

Working from the ROR safeguards machine operators from hazards found at the mine face and enables “hotseating” which significantly reduces shift handover time across fleet operations.

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