Newmont’s Australian Boddington operation will be the world’s first open pit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet when its Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) is fully online in 2021.
“Not only does Boddington continue to deliver strong performance, our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35% with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation,” commented Tom Palmer, President and CEO.
“We are also uniquely positioned in the gold sector to support effective implementation and operation of the fleet thanks to the technical capabilities and previous experience of leaders in our business. Simply put, Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction.”
Total net investment in Boddington’s AHS will be $150mn, with efficiencies expected to extend the mine’s life by at least two years. The Company also sees additional upside potential from the replication of the AHS at other Newmont operations.
Boddington’s autonomous Caterpillar haul trucks will feature rigorous safety controls that reduce employee exposure to potential vehicle interactions. No injuries have been recorded from AHS operations since their introduction into the mining industry. Newmont is also executing a robust people strategy at Boddington, providing opportunities for reskilling and redeployment of haul truck drivers to other roles supporting the AHS.
Boddington is Western Australia’s largest gold producer, delivering 709,000 ounces of gold and 77 million pounds of copper in 2018. The mine directly employs approximately 2,000 people and is located 135km southeast of Perth in Western Australia.
Newmont already owns the world’s first “all-electric” gold mine, which became part of its portfolio through its merger with Goldcorp last year. Borden, in Canada’s Ontario, began operations in October, featuring an electricity and battery-powered underground fleet.