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15 January 2021
A world-first in mobile equipment interoperability has been achieved by Newcrest Mining at Cadia Valley gold operations in New South Wales.
Newcrest incorporated a remote operated MacLean water cannon into their Epiroc automation fleet at the mine.
The MacLean water cannon is now localised with Epiroc’s traffic management system and safety hardware, allowing for a smooth integration into the automation safety system.
The water cannon works alongside Cadia’s semi-automated loaders and can be safely operated from the surface. Water cannons are used for secondary break operations, using high-pressure water to release wedged rocks in underground drawpoints.
The cannon had improved the efficiency of the mine’s production level and has removed human exposure from drawpoints.
“We are constantly pushing the envelope of change in the innovation and technology space. Automated machinery allows for a shift in technical capabilities of our workforce while ensuring we continue to eliminate safety risks from our operation,” Brannigan said.
In 2018 there was a loader automation trial by Newcrest with Epiroc at Cadia, this aimed to remove operators from Cadia East Underground, while maintaining productivity. According to Epiroc, the trial was successful. The nest stage will involve the integration of non-Epiroc machinery into the existing automation fleet.