SUEK considering wider application of autonomous mining trucks across the business
Since 2017, an innovative project has been underway at coal miner SUEK’s coal mining operations in Khakassia, titled ‘Automated cargo transportation system based on unmanned BELAZ-7513R dump trucks.’ The technology, also the first of its kind at SUEK operations, aims to improve the equipment efficiency and the safety of mining operations. In 2020, the company adjusted the operation modes of the group’s robot-aided system further following a number of tests.
The updated operation modes facilitated the possibility of carrying out various rock transportation operations safely, resulting in the company approving a pilot operation to test the system. Following these tests, results show that the productivity of unmanned dump trucks can be 20-25% higher compared with those under human control, while the consumption of diesel fuel is 13% lower. Following such encouraging results, in 2021, SUEK says it is considering the possibility of incorporating the system more broadly in the business, as well as expanding the group’s fleet of unmanned dump trucks. Total investments for this project have already reached $3.4 million.
In conventional open pit mining, SUEK continues to expand the capacity of its Nikolsky open-pit mine in order to replace the Olon-Shibirskoe deposit which is being retired. To increase this capacity it has purchased additional dump trucks for coal transportation to the washing plant. SUEK is also continuing development of the Pravoberezhny open-pit mine in the in the Khabarovsk region.