UG remote operation success at WA mine

Australian underground mining services company Barminco has piloted an operations centre at its head office in Perth, by remotely operating a machine at Independence Group’s (IGO’s) Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in the Goldfields region
UG remote operation success at WA mine UG remote operation success at WA mine UG remote operation success at WA mine UG remote operation success at WA mine UG remote operation success at WA mine

Underground remote set-up at the Nova operation in Western Australia

Staff reporter

The Perenti subsidiary trialled its Barminco Remote Operating Centre (BROC) in collaboration with Sandvik and IGO in July of this year.

The system, set up at its offices in Hazlemere, was used by a Barminco worker for the remote operation of a Sandvik LH517 loader at the Nova site, about 1,000 kilometres away.

Barminco said this achievement was particularly impressive as the remote operation was conducted over the internet instead of a more-common fibre-optic cable.

"A key strategic initiative under our parent company, Perenti's, 2025 strategy is to deliver a ‘technology-driven future'," Barminco CEO Paul Muller said, "and our ability to remotely operate underground machinery from our head office is a significant achievement in delivering on that strategy."

Barminco general manager for technology and innovation Darren Kwok believes the trial was a great success.

"Whilst many mine sites have operators remotely operating equipment from the mine's surface, we are one of the first, if not the first service provider, to operate underground equipment on a client's site from a much greater distance," he said.

"BROC enables us to connect multiple sites and operators at the same time, meaning if there is an issue at any point, we have contingencies in place."

He added that Barminco was now working with IGO to make BROC a permanent fixture at Nova.

IGO COO Matt Dusci said, by integrating solutions such as BROC, the miner was able to improve safety and boost efficiency and productivity.

According to Kwok, Barminco's plan is to have a dedicated operating centre in place, manned 24/7 by its team.

"Clients who work with Barminco should expect more from our business along with the broader Perenti group of companies, and BROC is one such example of how we are delivering on this promise," he said.