At the FMG iron ore mine site of Christmas Creek in the east Pilbara, UEA are operating Vermeer surface miner machines using Trimble GPS guidance for 24 hour production. Due to the geology of the resource and the fact that most of the ore is horizontally layered, the mining process lends itself to surface mining techniques.
The pit is approximately 500m wide by 1km long and will be mined to a depth of 50m. The estimated iron ore reserve is 619 million tonnes.
Currently six Vermeer machines & 1 Wirtgen surface miner are in operation with the Trimble GCS900 GPS guidance system, with an outlook to expand the fleet in the near future. These machines are programmed to maintain maximum efficiency by helping the operator follow the design depth and direction. Data from the GPS units is uploaded in real time using the Trimble wireless communication option so that engineers can verify production outcomes against the mine plan, then download a new design for the next cut. It also allows them to track production rates for each machine which will ultimately aid in managing production targets and improve mine planning.
Sitech WA has been involved in the installation of the system into the machines, software into the site office, infrastructure setup and ongoing support.