Canadian-miner Eldorado Gold’s decision to deploy RCT’s smart technology at its White Mountain gold mine in northeastern China saw both the safety culture strengthen and mine productivity increase at the same time.
Prior to implementing the new technology, White Mountain used handheld, line-of-sight equipment which required two workers (one to remote the machine and the other to manually control the bucket) to operate a single machine in order to adhere to regulatory requirements.
The site wanted proven technology to increase both safety and productivity on site and it was decided that installing RCT’s ControlMaster® teleremote system onto its Caterpillar R1700 loader was the best way to do achieve these outcomes.
RCT’s smart technology helped Eldorado Gold’s White Mountain mine achieve its safety and productivity goals.
RCT co-created the design of the remote control station which was housed in a converted delivery truck complete with RCT station chair, dual monitors, and a laser protection barrier system. This unique solution allows operators to operate equipment remotely from a station with climate control, high tech video equipment and a red light to protect operators’ eyes. In addition to improving operator’s comfort levels, the portable station allows operators to control the loader from a safe area, within the security of a laser barrier system ensuring no other personnel can enter the remoting area which further increases workers’ safety.
The ControlMaster® teleremote system was not only the first system of its kind to be used in China; it was also a huge success improving productivity as well as safety at White Mountain.
By using RCT’s ControlMaster® system at the site, productivity increased substantially with the site achieving a record of nearly 6,300 buckets in one month, which is equivalent to more than 60,000 tonnes of ore.
“The perceived benefits in productivity were estimated between 25 to 30%, meaning the system would pay for itself in less than six months,” said White Mountain general manager Warren Uyen. “However, actual data shows productivity gains of more than 35%.”
Loader operator safety also increased significantly as miners now conduct bogging operations from within the cabin located about 500 metres from the potentially hazardous stope area.
Data from the machine is transmitted back to the remote control station, and if any critical faults are detected, an alarm sounds and a message appears on the operator’s screen – just as if the operator were on the machine.
Due to the remote location of the mine, White Mountain wanted to be completely self-sufficient in terms of servicing and maintaining the RCT system. As a result RCT delivered a two-week comprehensive training package for operators and technicians. And RCT remains available to provide off site technical and troubleshooting advice if and when required.
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