At this open-pit gold mine in northeastern Ontario, the trucks drive themselves – by Jonathan Migneault (CBC News Sudbury – January 24, 2024)

When it reaches full production, Côté Gold mine will have 23 autonomous trucks hauling ore

A new open-pit gold mine in northeastern Ontario has turned to automation — including nearly 300-tonne hauling trucks that drive themselves — in a bid to increase productivity and worker safety. The Côté Gold project near Gogama, halfway between Sudbury and Timmins, is expected to produce around 440,000 ounces of gold a year over the next 18 years.

To extract the precious metal, massive Caterpillar mining trucks will haul more than 30,000 tonnes of ore every day so they can be processed. The mine currently has 14 of the mining trucks, which can carry around 200 tonnes of ore in a single load, and will have 23 when production fully ramps up.

Toronto-based IAMGOLD, which operates the mine, has leaned on knowledge from Caterpillar and the Alberta oilsands — where autonomous trucks have been used for several years — to build Ontario’s first mine to use the automated vehicles.

Consistency in automation

“The whole mine site has been designed around autonomous [vehicles], and that’s going to make the ultimate operation that much more efficient,” said Graeme Jennings, IAMGOLD’s vice-president of investor relations, in a phone interview.

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