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Wenco and Hitachi Construction complete autonomous haulage programme

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Global Mining Review,

Wenco International Mining Systems successfully completes trials of Hitachi Construction Machinery’s autonomous mine haul trucking programme developed in conjunction with Wencomine dynamic dispatch fleet management software.

Hitachi Construction Machinery purchased Wenco in 2009, and has been working closely with Wenco to leverage “Dynamic Dispatch” fleet dispatch automation software to enable dispatch of autonomous haul trucks.

“We’re very excited to reach this milestone,” said Louis Chan, Wenco’s manager of research and development on the project. “Wenco has worked closely with Hitachi since 2014; completion of this test phase proves capability of managing fully autonomous vehicles from fleet management and fleet automation software. We’re now eager to move ahead to the next phase: trials in active mine operations.”

Stanwell Corp.’s 2015 – 2016 annual report noted that autonomous haul trucks have moved upwards of 300 000 bank cubic metres of earth in mine rehabilitation work. The corporation is now in discussions with Hitachi around extending the trial through 2019. “We’re looking to move to the next stage very shortly with a commercial product in operation at an actual operating mine,” said Eric Green, General Manager of mining at Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia, “That’s in the plans for 2019 or 2020.”

“We’ve done a lot of work to be compliant in coal applications,” added Green, noting that iron ore operations in Western Australia could gain major benefits from autonomous haulage, such as enhanced site safety and significant decreases in equipment downtime.

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