Fortescue Metals Group has introduced the first trucks from its autonomous haul fleet fitted with autonomous haulage technology (AHS) into operation at Christmas Creek in Australia’s Pilbara region.
The expansion of the company’s autonomous haul fleet is slated to involve the conversion of around 100 haul trucks at the Chichester Hub.
The company aims to become the first iron ore operation in the world to possess a fully autonomous fleet via the initiative.
AHS trucks have moved over half a billion tonnes of material since the technology was first introduced at the Solomon hub in 2013, resulting in a productivity hike of more than 30% for the firm.
The introduction of the technology is intended to allow the company to remain at the lowest end of the global cost curve.
Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines said: “Innovation and technology is fundamental to driving sustained productivity and efficiency improvements across the business, ensuring we continue to deliver returns for our shareholders and key stakeholders.
“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology is leading to improved safety outcomes by significantly reducing the risk to our team members.”
Fortescue also noted that a significant portion of the planning for the automation expansion project included the development of workforce skills.
Gaines further added: “Training is at the heart of everything that we do, and our approach to autonomy is to ensure that no one at Fortescue is displaced as a result of this important initiative.”