Fortescue Metals to increase AHS technology at mines in WA


Fortescue Metals Group has rolled out plans to enhance autonomous haulage technology (AHS) at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (WA). 

CAT AHS has been deployed at the Solomon Hub since 2012 with 56 trucks now operating at the site, which is claimed to have resulted in a 20% improvement in productivity.

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Nev Power said: “Fortescue is continuing to introduce leading-edge technology across our business to ensure we remain at the lowest end of the global cost curve.

“These projects will encompass technological advancement, workforce skills development and collaboration with our suppliers to harness the best ideas and position Fortescue strongly for the future.”

The company now intends to convert up to 12 793F trucks to AHS at Solomon to further enhance productivity across the site.

In addition, the company’s implementation plan for the rollout of AHS at the Chichester Hub in the financial year 2018 is under way. 

At the Chichester Hub, Fortescue aims to achieve productivity improvements with the planned conversion of 100 haul trucks to AHS. 

"Fortescue is continuing to introduce leading-edge technology across our business to ensure we remain at the lowest end of the global cost curve."

Work at Chichester includes the start of commercial negotiations with suppliers, in addition to the upgrade of the IT network at Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines.

As part of the company’s assessment of options for the Firetail replacement project, it is investing in relocatable conveyor trial at the Cloudbreak mine. 

Fortescue said that collectively these projects will bring productivity improvements across the business through reduced haulage costs to neutralise increasing strip ratios.

It is expected that the investment will occur over the three-year period including financial years 2018 to 2020. 


Image: Fortescue Metals Group’s iron ore train in Pilbara region, WA, May 2008. Photo: courtesy of Geez-oz/Wikipedia.