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Automated haul trucks coming to NSW

BHP will be bringing automated haul trucks to the Mount
Arthur coal mine, a new technology trial likely to begin in the next 12 months.

This will be the first trial of autonomous mining haul trucks in NSW, which was flagged by BHP coal boss Dean Dalla Vale early this year.

BHP has already been testing driverless haul trucks at their
Jimblebar iron ore mine in Western Australia for more than 12 months, and will
soon ramp up the fleet from nine to 12 trucks.

The move has brought a political backlash after the Planning
and Assessment Commission recently approved an extension of the Mt Arthur coal
mine operations until 2026, on the grounds that it would facilitate employment
of up to 2600 workers, Newcastle
Herald reported

NSW member of the legislative council for the Greens Jeremy
Buckingham said the new trial indicated “the absolute hypocrisy of these
multinational coal companies”.

“They use the spectre of job losses to demand mining
approvals, while at the same time act to implement measures that cut
employment,” Buckingham said.

Last week Mt Arthur announced 150 jobs at the mine would be
cut, bringing the number of redundancies at the mine to 500 for the past 12

Mt Arthur currently runs four crews of haul truck drivers,
with 80 trucks operating each shift.

BHP NSW energy coal asset president Peter Sharpe said the
autonomous haulage would run in Saddler’s pit, and that there would be a final
decision on driverless trucks at the mine before June 2016.

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