Contractors World International
As each truck approaches the loading area, the load-
ing tool operator uses their on-board touch-screen com-
puter to “spot” the truck to the correct loading location,
“telling” the truck when it can move into position to be
loaded, then once it is loaded that it can move off to the
In dumping, the autonomous system is able to handle
the different requirements of the mine, depending on the
material to be dumped, whether to fixed crusher plant
locations for mined ore or to overburden waste dumps.
Mr Taylor said safety had been Komatsu’s first priority
in developing the FrontRunner system.
“Each truck’s ODS can detect light mine vehicles
and other mobile mine equipment – slowing or
stopping the trucks when required.
“One of the biggest safety issues with dump
truck operation is fatigue, particularly at night.
“Mine personnel have reported that they
feel far safer and less stressed with FrontRun-
ner trucks operating around them, because they
know their movements are constant and predict-
able 100% of the time.”
Mr Taylor said that operating a FrontRunner fleet also
significantly changed the mix of personnel requirements
to operate and control the trucks.
“Typically a Komatsu 930E truck in a 24/7
operation requires up to a total of five operators,
to cover shift changes and FIFO work patterns,
but with FrontRunner trucks, just a single
controller per shift is required to supervise the
entire truck fleet.
“On the other hand, autonomous truck
operation requires significantly higher skills – and
more people – to maintain and keep the system
going, including specialists in electronics, GPS and
Other reported advantages of Komatsu’s system in-
• More accurate component life prediction because
they are consistently driven to their optimum operating
characteristics at all times
• Reduced tyre wear, due to their constantly achiev-
ing their optimum travel speeds, acceleration, braking and
• Lower fuel consumption
• Increased productivity and production, through no
need to stop for shift changes or crib breaks, longer pe-
riods between service requirements, and minimised un-
Contractors World International Vol 6 No 4
Located in Pima County, Arizona, a copper min-
ing operation recently obtained a Terramac RT9
for their copper mine tailings pond dust suppres-
sion. Since the Terramac dust suppression unit
was new to this mine location, the company
sent product specialist, Matthew Herzig out to
Arizona to perform an overview of the unit to
During the startup, Matthew went over all of
the RT9’s features, instructed the mine’s operators
on how to use the dust suppression attachment,
and discussed safety tips in addition to best prac-
tices for service and maintenance.
Tailings ponds have a unique consistency and a
toxic chemical balance which requires extraordinary
equipment to safely maintain the tailings in accord-
ance with the strict laws set forth for mines.
The Terramac unit manoeuvres through the tail-
ings with ease because the carrier’s rubber tracks
disperse the weight making the overall ground pres-
sure just 5.1 psi.
The crawler carrier can accommodate a 1600 gal-
lon (6,056 litres) water tank and carries the 60 ft (18
m) spray boom that distributes a continuous flow of
water and magnesium chloride solution to efficiently keep
the tailings dust particles at bay.
Without this application, extreme heat and winds will
stir up the tailings which then pollute the environment.