Mineral Resources is eagerly awaiting the delivery of its first driverless road train from Hexagon AB, the company’s autonomous solutions partner in Perth. The highly customised Kenworth C509 prime mover – built for off-road operation – will undergo conversion to driverless operation at Hexagon’s facility. After handing over the keys, MinRes Director of Technology and Innovation David Geraghty expects the first conversion to take just a few days. Already ahead of schedule, MineRes and Hexagon hope to move forward at a clip of 10 driverless vehicle conversions per month until the entire fleet of 120 trucks is operational.

The project marks a significant milestone for the Ken’s Bore mine, the world’s first to implement fully autonomous road trains. Each road train has three trailers and can carry 330 tonnes of iron ore on the 150-kilometre-long journey from the Ken’s Bore to the Port of Ashburton on a private sealed road. 

The safety of workers and the public was a prime concern for MinRes. 

Mr Geraghty pointed out the “significant milestone” for Onslow Iron and its “essential” role in the project’s supply chain.

“Automation brings many benefits, including enhancing road safety, increasing operational efficiencies, and reducing emissions,” he said. 

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Hydrogen Haul Trucks to Roll-On

GM and Komatsu, two giants of the industrial and automotive worlds, will join forces to pursue hydrogen-powered haul trucks for miners worldwide. Despite the hydrogen headwinds, and as companies like Fortescue walk away from H2 in favour of battery-electric solutions for their haul trucks, the move is meaningful. When two companies of this size join forces, any project will likely be well-planned, well-resourced, and thoroughly explored. Under the agreement, GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cells will power Komatsu’s 930E mining trucks. 

The 930E is the world’s highest-selling haul truck package and, from the middle of the decade, may feature a hydrogen fuel cell once testing is complete. If it’s a success, hydrogen can provide a way to package large quantities of energy onboard a haul truck, generating zero tailpipe emissions without compromising payload capacity. GM global HYDROTEC executive director Charlie Freese hopes the company can play its part in a zero-emissions future beyond roadgoing vehicles.

“Mining trucks are among the largest, most capable vehicles used in any industry, and we believe hydrogen fuel cells are best suited to deliver zero-emissions propulsion to these demanding applications,” he said. 

The new truck package could go a long way to helping Komatsu hit its 50% emissions reduction target by 2030. 

BHP Targets Clean Steel With Chinese Giant

Global mining major BHP and Chinese steelmaker HBIS Group will partner to reduce carbon emissions in the steel smelting process. Based on BHP’s direct reduced iron supply (DRI), a significant decarbonization agreement will occur at HBIS’s newly commissioned DRI plant.

The performance of DRI will then be evaluated for its suitability in downstream steelmaking steps. The DRI plant pumps hydrogen-rich gas by-products into the blast furnace, converting ore into a metallic iron product that can be further refined for steel.

Steelmaking is one of our heaviest emitting industries, producing around 8% of the world’s Greenhouse Gases (GHG) each year. BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry hopes the alliance will help to assess and “demonstrate a range of potential pathways to reduce GHG in steelmaking.”

“Our work with customers like HBIS Group, together with our actions, aims to accelerate progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain,” he said. BHP and HBIS have allocated up to $US15 million over three years to tackle the project proposed in a memorandum of understanding signed in 2021. 

“HBIS and BHP are aligned in their aims to help develop greener, low-carbon solutions that can reduce emissions in steelmaking, leveraging on the long-standing and trusted relationship that we have forged over several years,” HBIS chair Yu Yong said.


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