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Pucobre and HARD-LINE partner to test semi-autonomous technology for underground mining

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Global Mining Review,

After signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in September 2019, Pucobre, a Chilean copper producer, is testing HARD-LINE’s Tele-Op Auto at an underground mine in Copiapó, Chile. TeleOp Auto is a system that allows autonomous control of load, haul, dump (LHDs) and trucks from a safe distance at a control station.

“The pilot project is going very well. We really feel the interest from HARD-LINE, and that is really important to us,” said Carlos Morales, Pucobre’s Chief Technology Officer.

For phase one, one LHD is being operated through semi-autonomous technology, with the goal of a 20% improvement to productivity in the mine.

“TeleOp Auto is a tool that will allow us to have a safer operation and improve our mine design. It is a strategic project, it’s not just about the technology,” added Morales. With this technology, the mine is going to be more efficient.

HARD-LINE’s Project Manager in Chile, Felipe Aguirre, commented: “We are getting all of the information we need for doing the calculations and to provide Pucobre all of the information they need to decide if this will help in their mining process.”

This marks the first time the Copiapó mine has used this type of autonomous technology. “We are confident that the use of the autonomous technology will help Pucobre meet the production goals, with reduced costs. This will also lead to the application of TeleOp technology to other equipment used in the mine such as drilling, and haulage,” said HARD-LINE Chile General Manager, Brian Larocque.

Morales concluded: “For us, it is a big step because if we are successful in this project, we expect several optimisations in the whole mining process.”

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Copper mining news Mining equipment news