Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group now has 183 autonomous haul trucks operating across the company’s Solomon and Chichester Hubs in Western Australia (WA).

The company achieved this milestone with the completion of its autonomous haulage project at the Chichester Hub.

The Chichester Hub comprises the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak iron ore mines.

According to Fortescue, the introduction of autonomous haulage technology at its operations has resulted in a 30% increase in productivity.

Fortescue noted that the fleet of Cat 793F, 789D and Komatsu 930E autonomous haul trucks have travelled over 52 million kilometres at the Chichester and Solomon Hubs.

Since 2013, the iron ore miner’s autonomous haul fleet has moved roughly 1.5 billion tonnes of material.

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines said: “Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has improved safety outcomes across our operations and we’re very pleased that the team achieved this important milestone in the truck conversion programme to the highest safety standards.

“Our approach to autonomy has been to be open and transparent with our plans and to work closely with our team members to offer opportunities for re-training and re-deployment.”

Gaines noted that over 3,000 Fortescue team members have been trained to work with autonomous haulage, with 200 of them trained as ‘Mine Controllers’ and autonomous haulage system (AHS) professionals.

Fortescue Metals Group chief operating officer Greg Lilleyman said: “Our operations are more connected than ever before and by using data from our autonomous haulage fleet, we can paint an accurate picture of our operations and focus on the optimal opportunities for improvement, such as haul road design and maintenance scheduling.

“Our autonomous haulage system is a foundational tool which allows us to streamline processes and improve outcomes, ultimately delivering increased value for our shareholders.”

In June, Fortescue rolled out its 100th autonomous haul truck conversion at its Chichester Hub in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.