WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Earlier this week Western Australia mining minister Bill Marmion approved the world’s first safety code of practice for autonomous mining systems.
Implementation comes after a serious incident at BHP Billiton’s Jimblebar iron ore mine last year. An unmanned haul truck ran over a manned water cart. The cart driver did not know the truck would turn into his path, and at the speed the truck was traveling, it could not avoid the collision. Fortunately, the water cart driver received only minor injuries.
The code was developed over 18 months by a working group including the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum, equipment manufacturers, mining companies, technology experts and regulators. It covers systems not specifically spelled out in the country’s Mine Safety and Inspection Act of 1994.
The code has been endorsed by the Mining Industry Advisory Committee.