World’s most automated underground mine

We made history in 2015, reaching 100 percent automation in our E48 block cave mine – a world first.

Our driver-less loaders, controlled from the surface, load ore from the draw point and transport it to the underground primary crusher where it is crushed, conveyed and hoisted to the surface.

This achievement has been five years in the making and takes people out from underground allowing them to control the loaders from an air-conditioned room on the surface. We’re also now seeing production records from our underground mine as one operator can control three loaders at the same time.

Stefanie Loader, Managing Director, said this breakthrough allows us to operate continuously, 24/7, without pause. “We have higher daily production at a significantly reduced cost. Importantly, complete automation reduces our risk profile: operators are located on the surface, rather than in the cab, thereby eliminating exposure to hazards such as dust, noise and vibration,” she said.

“We are committed to continuous improvement. We are innovative in our approach, we embrace technology, adapt quickly and find new and smart ways of doing things.”

CMOC Overseas CEO Kalidas Madhavpeddi said complete automation positions Northparkes as an outright industry leader, not only in Australia but globally. “Northparkes is a benchmark for others in the industry. Since acquiring the operation, CMOC has given the automation project our full support and it is wonderful to see it come to fruition.”