GMSG is producing an industry-led guideline on autonomous mining


"The implementation of autonomous machinery will fundamentally change mining and will have a profound impact on the industry as a whole,” says Dave Goddard, of the Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group (GMSG), a facilitator of global mining collaboration on common industry issues. “Although there are a lot of mining companies currently taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to autonomous operations, the reality is that automation will be hugely disruptive in mining and will come whether they want it or not. And it’s more likely to come in a sooner and shorter time horizon than anyone is expecting.”

That’s what drove GMSG to create its Autonomous Mining Working Group in 2016, where Goddard manages a project to publish a globally-relevant Implementation of Autonomous Systems Guideline.

The key areas covered by the guideline will include functional capability, functional safety, change management, communications with the workforce and local community, and interactions with regulators. It’s to be an expanded checklist or playbook to provide mining companies and OEMs with the tools necessary to move forward with autonomous mining from planning to final stages.

The Autonomous Mining Working Group held a kick-off workshop in Perth, Australia, on February 22-23, the first in a series of planned workshops designed to produce the guideline. Two days of intensive brainstorming and discussion generated a starter list of what needs to be considered to create an effective and comprehensive guideline. As all sectors of the industry are affected by the advance of autonomy, delegates represented several. Included were OEMs Caterpillar, Liebherr and Epiroc; regulators from the Western Australia Department of Mines and Energy; and mining companies BHP, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, Goldfields, and CITIC Pacific. Other stakeholders were original technology manufacturer RCT Global, and METS Ignited - a government-funded growth centre for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

Based on outcomes from the Perth workshop, five task groups have been developed to enable volunteers to contribute their expertise to the development of the guideline: Business Case; Change Management and Planning; Safety and Regulatory; Design, Architecture and Data; and Human Factors.

The next workshop, scheduled for Vancouver, May 3-4, will expand on topics and identify any missing concerns. Additional workshops will then be held to further advance the document. A complete draft is expected by September 2018 with the final document to be published by year end.

Interested parties are encouraged to contact Heather Ednie at

About Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group
Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group (GMSG) connects stakeholders from all parts of the industry to improve communication, facilitate collaboration and foster a more sustainable and efficient future of mining. GMSG engages stakeholders to develop guidelines that drive innovation, sustainability, safety and productivity, helping to transform the industry globally.

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