By Andy Choi
Mining jobs in Australian Outback mines involve spending long hours in the scorching sun and travelling long distances.
Rio Tinto Mines in Australia
These are ideal conditions for deploying robots for performing various mining operations. Also, mines that are experiencing a labour crunch are looking at robotic solutions for automating the processes. The Rio Tinto mine has announced its plan of doubling its fleet of automated mining trucks at the Yandicoogina mine in the Pilbara district. These trucks are guided by a box, which is placed near the front bumper and radar-dish sensors that steer the trucks remotely. The spokesperson for Rio Tinto explained that the trucks would be fully automatic and are useful in reducing the load time and position themselves at the right spot always.
The operating center is the place where employees control mining operations such as loading trains and ships, controlling the power and water supply at the mines, through their computer screens. Other mines such as the Hancock Prospecting would soon be turning to robotics for automating its r mining operations. An automation expert attributes many advantages such as cost reduction, enhancing safety and quality, reducing the wastage and improving productivity, to automating in mining.
In order to keep up with the market competition, Australian mines have been working continuously throughout the year. When compared to employing humans in operations such as Loading, Dumping or hauling, automation seems a better solution as it involves lesser risk of accidents. Reduction in number of accidents contributes to establishing a good reputation of the firm and also reduces the risks. Another aspect that has been driving automation is the pressure from Unions. As an answer to the rift between Unions and miners many mining companies are looking at automating some of the risky and strenuous jobs at mines. By removing people from performing such tasks their potential can be utilised elsewhere where the company as well as the labourer derives benefit.