Marmion releases world’s first code of practice for safe autonomous mining

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Image: Autonomous haul trucks in operation at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas mine site. Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion yesterday released the world’s first code of practice for safe autonomous mining which includes robotic mining and exploration and is set to complement Western Australia’s growing technology sector.

Image: Autonomous haul trucks in operation at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas mine site. Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto.
Image: Autonomous haul trucks in operation at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas mine site. Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto.

According to the Minister’s statement, the code was developed by a working group comprising representatives from equipment manufacturers, mining companies and technology experts, as well as the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).

“With WA already at the forefront of autonomous and robotic mining and exploration, it makes sense we also take the lead in the safe implementation of these technologies,” the Minister said.

DMP’s Director of Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn said the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) technical committee on mobile autonomous mining systems met in Perth in September last year to discuss global safety standards.

“The forum provided DMP an opportunity to hear from international experts and share our collective knowledge about safety in autonomous mining and this code of practice was a key part of those discussions,” he said.

The code of practice, which took 18 months to develop, will allow for the safe introduction and management of autonomous mobile mining systems in mining operations.

“This code will complement further development of autonomous mining systems in WA, promoting increased diversification of our technology sector,” Mr Marmion said.

“This sort of expertise also helps build our tech export base, with the State already producing well over half of the world’s mining software.”

The code of practice is available a http://dmp.wa.gov.au