RCT is proud of its role in supplying a fully autonomous battery electric loader to the Bathopele platinum mine. Credit: Sibanye-Stillwater
Operators at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Bathopele platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa are now operating an autonomous battery electric loader in what is believed to be a first on that continent.
RCT together with a South African OEM installed its ControlMaster automation onto the electric loader and delivered RCT’s automation centre into an office on the surface.
In addition to this, RCT Connect, a specialized underground communications network was also installed to further enhance autonomous operations and improve overall connectivity at the mine. The site’s decision to implement this level of technology was necessary to navigate a unique mining situation.
The new addition of the electric loader is by far the most futuristic way of mining, the company claims. When coupled with RCT’s automation systems, it will see operators relocate from the machine operating in a confined situation and relocate them to an automation centre on the surface. In addition to the benefits to the operator, the addition of the battery-electric hydrostatically driven loader reduces diesel particulates underground.
RCT believes its ControlMaster is the only proven, interoperable automation platform that can be integrated across any mobile equipment make, type or model.
Sibanye-Stillwater assigned two female operators to control the autonomous machine from the surface who have both been very accepting of the technology and found it easy to use, RCT claims.
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