Antofagasta's Minera Centinela opts for fleet of 11 Komatsu 980E-5 autonomous trucks for Esperanza Sur

At the end of 2020, Chile's Minera Centinela, part of Antofagasta PLC, approved the implementation of autonomous haulage at the Esperanza Sur open pit copper operation, with which it will target high utilisation and average speeds. The company said at the time, "we are targeting specific performance improvements to come from these changes." The company has now told IM that the contract has been awarded to Komatsu for a fleet of 11 980E-5 autonomous trucks, which will be delivered between July 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

The 980E has already been proven in AHS, notably at Suncor's oil sands operations in Alberta, including Fort Hills. The Esperanza Sur pit is expected to achieve first production in the first half of 2022 and will add 10-15,000 t/y of additional copper to Centinela's production. Komatsu states that the 363 t class 980E-5 electric drive truck has a SSDA18V170 Komatsu diesel engine with 18 cylinders and a net flywheel power of 2,495 kW, providing excellent productivity and performance in terms of fuel consumption.

Compared to previous variants, the chassis design was structurally improved through computational designs, element analysis and large-scale dynamic/static tests. In addition, Centinela currently uses the Leica Jigsaw fleet management system (FMS) from Hexagon Mining but for the autonomous technologies implementation project, Modular Mining's Dispatch will be installed. Lastly on the network, the operation today uses wireless mesh.

For autonomy an LTE-type network will be implemented, the provider of which will be finalised in the coming months.

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