Roy Hill’s successful implementation of autonomous drills at its mine is the most recent example of the company’s commitment to using innovative technology to improve safety and maximise efficiency. Located 340 km south-east of Port Hedland in Western Australia, Roy Hill’s low phosphorus Marra Mamba iron ore deposit is one of Australia’s single largest iron ore mines. Roy Hill initiated the automated fleet of nine Atlas Copco (Epiroc) Pit-Viper 271 drills to improve safety by reducing employee’s exposure to potentially hazardous environment; provide greater predictability across the operational drilling fleet; and increase the utilisation of equipment in high risk situations.
The autonomation of the project was completed in September 2018, with control expected to be fully centralised within Roy Hill’s Remote Operating Centre (ROC) located in Perth by May 2019. Since the rollout, the company’s productivity targets have been consistently met and exceeded. Autonomous drills are consistently achieving working hours of greater than 21 hours and drilled metres have increased by 14% from manned operations.