The KGHM’s Robinson Mine team was tasked with ensuring a productive and efficient operation while evaluating opportunities for the update of the aging equipment. Key players were charged with the monumental challenge of finding equipment that would not only measure up in terms of efficiency and productivity, but also bring the operation into the next generation by upgrading an aging blasthole drill rig fleet. With a 15-year-old drill nearing the end of its life expectancy, some stakeholders were interested in replacing it with an autonomous machine to increase safety, productivity and identify utilization gaps and other operational pain points that could be solved with autonomous technology.
Equipped with a general understanding of the major advances in autonomous technology, it was important for the management team to research and test various equipment solutions to ensure that they were making the right investments for their operation.
Productivity, cost efficiency and safety gains of implementing autonomous drilling would need to be proven outcomes of any investments in technology or business partnerships.
While the potential benefits of automation can be attractive, joining the worldwide industry shift to autonomous mining would require significant technology and mindset changes. For mine management, it is important to have confidence in the performance that an autonomous drill rig could deliver – and in the support an automation partner would provide.
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