The Total Mining System (TMS): The basis for open pit automation
With the implementation of more advanced monitoring, control and locating systems in surface mines, there is an ever increasing need for their mine-wide integration toward achieving over-all optimization. AQUILA Mining Systems Ltd. is developing the basis for a comprehensive real-time monitoring, control and information system called the Total Mining System or TMS. This system is being designed to address both current and future needs of open pit mines toward improving productivity and minimizing costs, through better two-way information flow between each component in the operation. At a basic level, feedback from equipment and process monitoring will enable decision making to be based on quantitative, on-demand information, thus permitting proactive rather than reactive planning. Dynamic planning would be a valuable tool as market conditions fluctuate, equipment fleets age and variations in the grade, quality, geometry and hardness of the mined material all contribute to either changing production targets or levels of achievable performance. Such a capability could be implemented within the next two years.
At a higher level, and within five years, autonomous operation and/or real-time supervisory control of mobile and stationary equipment in open pit mines will be achieved. A discussion is provided in regard to the development and implementation of an autonomous haultruck and blasthole drill, to demonstrate the need for such a system.
This paper outlines a preliminary program for the design, development and implementation of this system, primarily in relation to high-level communications and its role in the future automation of open pit mobile equipment.
Automation, Open pit mining, Total Mining System.