The Evolution of Automation in Australian Mining

This latest whitepaper in WesTrac’s mining series considers the evolution, key drivers, benefits, and some of the lessons learned from automated solution rollouts across the industry. It also looks at how these solutions have shifted from their initial tier-one operator target to most levels of the mining and related services sectors.

In the decade since early adopters undertook the first deployments of Cat® automation technology for heavy haulage equipment, utilisation across industry has come in leaps and bounds.

Today, the technologies initially targeted to haul fleets and top tier miners have been scaled to enable implementation across a broader range of equipment, while becoming far more accessible to, and accepted by, operators of all sizes.

That broader adoption is in part due to improved understanding of the processes and new skillsets required to roll out and manage autonomous solutions, including close collaboration with OEMs and service providers.

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the evolution of automation

What's inside this whitepaper?


  • Evolution of autonomous operations
  • Degrees of automation

Technology and implementation

  • The building blocks of automation
  • Implementing automation
  • Lessons from initial project rollouts
  • Scalability of automation
  • Challenges and priorities
  • Training and acceptance

Automation benefits and value

  • Safety and health
  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • Sustainability
  • Workforce development

SX5 Group Case Study: Remote dozing plan highlights new commercial opportunity

When Pilbara-based SX5 Group decided to implement a remote dozing solution to enhance its mine site rehabilitation services, an additional commercial opportunity came to light to address the growing popularity of remote operations.

Thiess Case Study: A decade of autonomous experience

When Thiess embarked on its first autonomous rollout more than 10 years ago, there was no ‘how-to’ manual to guide the organisation through the project. But with the benefit of experience, the utilisation of data and close collaboration on the development and rollout of the technology, the mining services provider has become a leader in automation and autonomy for mining services.

Future directions and opportunities


Automate your site, reap the benefits

Machine automation for mining operations has been one of the biggest developments in technology over the last decade, and significant benefits can be realised with even the simplest of applications.

Individual technologies can be used alone or combined in multiple ways to take advantage of immediate productivity, safety and sustainability benefits and serve as the building blocks leading to autonomous operations. All of which is covered in detail in our whitepaper above.

Whether you're planning to take your first steps into automation or you're already on the journey, our team can help. Click the link below to learn more about WesTrac's mining automation solutions.

Take command of your site

MineStar Command provides remote control, semi-autonomous and autonomous systems for both surface and underground mobile mining equipment.

Command is the world's leading mining automation technology. By implementing it on your site, you'll see improvements in sustainability, safety, productivity and availability. No two operations are alike, so Command gives you the capability to adapt what’s working elsewhere to suit your site-specific needs.

Whatever your needs, there is a MineStar Command automation solution that, when combined with WesTrac's support, will help you achieve your goals.


Collaboration delivers world first autonomous drilling success for Thiess

A collaborative project involving Thiess, WesTrac and Caterpillar® has led to the rollout of world-first autonomous drilling solutions that are delivering people, productivity and efficiency benefits.
Thiess Autonomous Cat Rotary Blasthole Drills

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