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Aurecon appoints autonomous technology leader to accelerate transition to zero-entry mining

Aurecon appoints Graeme Mitchell

Graeme Mitchell will lead Aurecon teams to help clients navigate the many challenges in bringing autonomous systems to life

21 April 2020 – Engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has appointed Autonomous Technology Director Graeme Mitchell to lead the acceleration of autonomous technology and help clients transition faster to ‘zero-entry mining’ operations.

Today, the health and safety benefits of removing people from the mining operating environment and transitioning them to overseeing operations and undertaking more highly skilled roles has become a heightened imperative and opportunity due to COVID-19.

“Zero-entry mining where by all equipment is operating seamlessly within the mining eco-system could help sustain the resources sector far beyond the next COVID-19 type pandemic,” said Tony Richardson, Resources Industry Director. “As the mining sector is seeking to enhance the global response to climate change, zero-entry mining should be part of mining companies transition plan.”

In the mid-2000s several autonomous mining programs were launched reducing the requirement for a human driver, increasing productivity, reducing downtime from shift changeovers and reducing maintenance and operational costs of truck and drill fleet.

Fast forward 15 years and there has been some progress made to achieve mixed-mode autonomous mining operations, with the addition of dozers, loaders, drill rigs and light vehicles but progressing any further towards zero-entry mining is still a challenge that many are failing to overcome.

Graeme’s experience leading the development of autonomous mining systems and technology with a Tier 1 mining company both in Australia and US means he knows first-hand the collaboration and integration required if mining companies are to transition to zero-entry mining. He is experienced in developing autonomous mining roadmaps and business cases for new autonomous mining initiatives focused on key value drivers of improvements in safety, productivity and a reduction in overall operating costs.

“Graeme’s knowledge in the integration of autonomous systems in a mining context is sought-after in the industry. Based in Perth, Graeme will lead our Aurecon teams to help clients navigate the many challenges in bringing autonomous systems to life,” Tony said.

“Bringing a focus to zero emissions, autonomous mining and next generation mine design will enable operators within the resources sector to move closer to zero footprint across their assets throughout the lifecycle.”

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