Fortescue spending big on fleet

29th October 2020 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals has signed up for a A$32-million renewable hydrogen supply product that would enable ten of its coaches at its Christmas Creek mine, in the Pilbara region, to be fuelled with renewable hydrogen.

The Christmas Creek operation would be the first mine in Australia to deploy hydrogen for transport and transition from diesel engines, gas and engineering company BOC reported.

BOC will supply ITM electrolysers to produce renewable hydrogen through electrolysis. The electrolysers will have capacity to produce up to 180 kg of renewable hydrogen a day to power 10 hydrogen fuel cell coaches that carry 3 000 workers to and from the mine site every day.   

The project is slated for completion in early 2022.

Meanwhile, Fortescue this week also completed the Chichester Hub autonomous haulage project, which represented one of the largest fleet conversions to autonomous haulage (AHS) in the industry, and expanded the Fortescue autonomous haulage fleet to 183 trucks operating at Fortescue’s Solomon and Chichester Hubs.

“Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world, and Fortescue continues to build on our leading autonomy capability to deliver productivity and efficiency benefits,” said Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has improved safety outcomes across our operations and we’re very pleased that the team achieved this important milestone in the truck conversion programme to the highest safety standards.

“Our approach to autonomy has been to be open and transparent with our plans and to work closely with our team members to offer opportunities for re-training and re-deployment. Around 3 000 Fortescue team members have been trained to work with autonomous haulage, including over 200 people trained as mine controllers and AHS system professionals,” Gaines said.

Fortescue COO Greg Lilleyman said that the autonomous haulage fleet has delivered a 30% increase in productivity.

“Looking ahead, the flexibility of our efficient, multiclass autonomous fleet offers considerable potential for further productivity and efficiency gains.

“Our operations are more connected than ever before and by using data from our autonomous haulage fleet, we can paint an accurate picture of our operations and focus on the optimal opportunities for improvement, such as haul road design and maintenance scheduling.  

“Our autonomous haulage system is a foundational tool which allows us to streamline processes and improve outcomes, ultimately delivering increased value for our shareholders,” Lilleyman said.