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Anglo American’s Aquila Mine has taken home a top mining award for groundbreaking technology advancements to minimise human presence in underground areas.

The mine won the Outstanding Mine Performance category at the Australian Mining Prospect Awards 2023 and was also a finalist in the Excellence in Mine Safety category.

The mine features two longwall systems ensuring production continuity. Both longwalls are fully remote capable from the site-based Remote Operations Centre (ROC) on the surface of the mine.

This pivotal transformation has reduced operational exposure to underground areas by about 15,000 hours a year.

Aquila Mine General Manager Shane McDowall said transitioning to remote longwall operations set the stage for impressive production performance and established an unparalleled model of safety and stability.

“Currently achieving 100% of remote-operated longwall shears per week from its ROC, the mine boasts an industry-first suite of automation systems and an intricate camera network,” he said.

“These components harmonise seamlessly to guide coal cutting with unparalleled precision and efficiency.

“This strategic move eliminates the need for human presence in hazardous environments, marking a significant step toward minimising potential exposure.”

QATCF 17 Award 2
Woongal Environmental Services’ First Nation rangers.

Bravus Mining and Resources was also recognised for its leading environmental management and Indigenous engagement programs at its Carmichael mine and was a finalist in both the Excellence in Environmental Management and Sustainability and the Indigenous and Community Engagement categories.

The Excellence in Environmental Management and Sustainability nomination was for innovative AI-supported monitoring of the endangered Black-throated Finch. Bravus Mining and Resources developed a targeted Management Plan to protect local Black-throated Finches and their habitat and researchers built an automated call recogniser to help track bird movements and to identify individual bird’s home ranges, providing insights into their day-to-day behaviour.

The Indigenous and Community Engagement nomination was for collaboration between Bravus Mining and Resources and Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owner business, Woongal Environmental Services, for ecological management of the 33,000-hectare conservation area that surrounds the Carmichael mine.

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