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(Kitco News) - When mines are built with automation at the forefront, the industry will see real impact, said Brendon Cullen, product manager for automation and control at RCT Global.
Cullen spoke to Kitco News earlier this month. Listen to our full interview in the link below.
Cullen believes mining technology should be centralized.
"You see a region like Elko, Nevada, with many, many mines around. The more we can bring people back to a centralized location, the more benefit we will see. Once mines are designed with automation at the forefront I believe we will see real step changes in how the mines are designed," said Cullen.
Perth-based RCT Global outfits mobile mining equipment and automates it. The company is machine agnostic. Miners may not want to put their eggs all in one basket and go for a one-fleet strategy for their mining operations, said Cullen. Thus the niche that opened up for RCT Global.
"Whilst the OEMs are very good at fitting their gear to their own equipment, they are not so good when fitting their technology to other equipment," said Cullen.
Vendors are feeling the push for interoperability. A lot of vendors are creating an API for a certain amount of data to come off the machines.
"Obviously not every piece of information can be shared or should be shared," said Cullen.
Control operations are one example of the technology stack that are safety critical.
Asked why Western Australia has all the cutting edge mining automation, Cullen said a few factors have contributed. It is a remote area with few people, and the iron-ore, open-pit mines are bulk operations that lend themselves to automation.
Cullen said underground operations are the next frontier for automation. Mine operators want to remove as many people as possible from the underground.