The Roy Hill mine in WA’s Pilbara has allocated $70 million to develop its fleet of haul trucks into fully-autonomous vehicles. Management inked the deal with Epiroc after a significant testing phase. 

Over recent months, the automated units have been running 24/7 while testing reliability, responsiveness and safety outcomes. 

The deal will elevate Roy Hill to the world’s largest automated mine. One of the significant benefits of the agreement with Epiroc and ASI Mining, a partly owned subsidiary, is the ability to automate different equipment brands at scale. 

Roy Hill currently operates a mixed fleet of 96 haul trucks, including 54 from Caterpillar and 42 made by Hitachi.

The driverless conversion will use ASI’s ASI Mining’s Mobius-based autonomous haulage system and is the largest order yet for the technology. So far, the test fleet has met all safety standards while boosting productivity over conventional haul trucks. 

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Australia: Driving an Automated Future

With a healthy and experienced mining industry, Australia is considered a world leader in heavy-duty automation technology.

As miners search for a safer, more efficient and more productive future with a better cost profile, automation is coming to the fore.

Australia’s Mining Equipment, Technology and Services or METS sector is developing a range of advanced solutions for haul trucks and across the spectrum of mining operations. 

Automation is driving improvements from exploration to export.

Many Australian research centres, university departments and industry groups

are investing big dollars in new automation technologies hoping for a big payoff.

Some of the Automation innovations taking place Down-Under include:

  • Autonomous and near-autonomous load haul dump (LHD) and truck haulage methods 
  • Train loading and transportation systems that can be controlled remotely
  • Automated underground mining systems to increase the accuracy of cutting sequences in mechanised mining 
  • Continuous longwall mining and haulage operations, reducing shift changes and operator fatigue
  • Drilling control technology for increased efficiency
  • Intelligent software that autonomously (or semi-autonomously) interprets unique data and can alter process parameters or machinery
  • More innovative, more flexible control architectures and greater decision support

Big Miners Lead the Way

Unsurprisingly, Australia is leading the charge, with our biggest miners already operating hundreds of automated haul trucks.

And while Roy Hill is set to become the largest single autonomous mine site, companies like BHP and Fortescue Metals Group already field 300 and 200 units, respectively.

As Australia’s biggest company, BHP plans to increase its driverless haul truck fleet to 500 during 2023 across its Western Australia and Queensland sites. 

By country, Australia maintains the largest hive of autonomous trucks with 706, up from 561 in 2021 and comfortably ahead of second-place Canada with 177.  

As far as the trucks themselves go, Caterpillar and Komatsu are the leading suppliers of autonomous vehicle technology, accounting for 86.5% of the trucks, followed by the Mining Intelligence Center, with the 793F and 930E the most popular OEM models, respectively.


Roy Hill in remote WA is set to become the world’s biggest single autonomous mine, upgrading its entire fleet of 96 haul trucks to driverless operation.

Epiroc is the technology provider of choice and will fulfil a $70 million contract to outfit Roy Hill’s cavalcade of Caterpillar and Hitachi trucks with the necessary upgrades. 

It’s Epiroc’s largest automation contract signed yet.

It’s hoped that the automated units will provide Roy Hill with advancements in safety, efficiency and productivity, in line with recent around-the-clock testing data. 

The upgrade program is scheduled to run throughout 2023, with more orders expected down the track. 

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