Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine

Newmont Corp’s board of directors has unanimously approved investment in a Caterpillar Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) at the Boddington gold mine in Western Australia to enhance safety and productivity, while also extending mine life
Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine Newmont's Boddington set to be first autonomous gold mine

The fleet of autonomous Cat 793F mining trucks will be fully operational in 2021 at Newmont’s Boddington mine in Australia

Staff reporter

Newmont stated that once fully operational in 2021, Boddington will be the world's first open-pit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet.

Total net investment in Boddington's AHS will be US$150 million, with efficiencies expected to extend the mine's life by at least two years. Newmont also sees additional upside potential from the replication of the AHS at other Newmont operations.

Boddington's autonomous Caterpillar haul trucks will feature rigorous safety controls that reduce employee exposure to potential vehicle interactions. The company noted that no injuries have been recorded from AHS operations since their introduction into the mining industry.

Newmont is also executing a robust people strategy at Boddington, providing opportunities for reskilling and redeployment of haul truck drivers to other roles supporting the AHS.

"Not only does Boddington continue to deliver strong performance, our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35% with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation," said Tom Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Newmont.

"We are also uniquely positioned in the gold sector to support effective implementation and operation of the fleet thanks to the technical capabilities and previous experience of leaders in our business. Simply put, Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction."

Boddington is Western Australia's largest gold producer, delivering 709,000oz of gold and 77 million pounds of copper in 2018. The mine directly employs approximately 2,000 people and is located 135km southeast of Perth in Western Australia.