Nautilus International has AGS systems in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the USA and Canada.
A lot of Australia’s gold mining companies have also used Nautilus AGS systems for many years. These mines include; King of the Hills, Gwalia, Gwalia Deeps, Sons of Gwalia, Prominent Hill, Challenger, La Mancha and Australian Contract Mining.
New Zealand’s Newmont Favona Mine purchased their first two Nautilus AGS systems for their Cat R1700 loaders in 2011 and then in 2012 bought four Nautilus AGS systems for their Midas Mine in Nevada, USA.
The Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is going to be one of the biggest in the world and they are using their first Nautilus AGS system.
Nautilus pioneered the development of the first electro-magnetic field Proximity Detection System in 1989 and is still the world leader in this technology. These proximity systems are used for many different applications but they are not needed with our Teleremote or AGS Systems. Instead, Nautilus uses failsafe, eye-safe laser barriers.
The loader is isolated inside it’s tramming area by one or more Laser-Barriers so that it can’t escape and other vehicles and people can’t get in. If someone does enter the tramming area the loader will automatically be disabled and the operator’s TV screen will show him a suitable warning message which identifies the Laser that was tripped.
The remote operator could be up to 30km from his underground loader, however, he usually sits in a comfortable Chair in a Control-Room on the surface or in a cabin underground or in a mobile vehicle such as a Toyota Land Cruiser.
If the remote control operator works in a surface Control-Room he doesn’t need underground mining experience. This is useful because a lot of young people don’t want to go underground but they do have good video-game skills which are perfect for Teleremote and AGS systems.
Nautilus has been developing their AGS system for a long time. The first prototype was started in 1999 and completed in 2000. Also in 2000, Nautilus completed the design and manufacture of ‘Lucy’ a battery powered loader used to test all Nautilus systems. Lucy is a very small loader but she’s fitted with a full Teleremote and AGS system. For the last 14 years, Nautilus has used Lucy and it’s indoor mine to simplify, improve, miniaturize and test their systems. The Nautilus mine has a fully equipped Control Room with a main drive, two crosscuts, a 45 degree stock pile, two orthogonal stockpiles, a Y intersection and a stope. The first AGS system was tested at Hudson Bay’s Flin-Flon Mine in Manitoba in 2010 on a CAT R1700 loader.
The first two production AGS systems were installed at Newmont’s Waihi Mine in New Zealand in 2011 on CAT R1700 loaders and they are still working well.
Four AGS systems were installed at Newmont’s Midas Mine in Nevada at the end of September 2012 on Sandvik LH204 loaders.
Twelve AGS systems have been installed and are working well at six different mines in Australia on various CAT and Sandvik loaders.
These systems include full AGS which means the operator selects the area of the mine he wants, selects the desired route and then moves the tramming joystick forward or reverse to launch the loader.
After that the loader automatically trams from the Start point to the Stope and when it arrives the operator takes control to load the bucket. When the bucket has been loaded the operator launches the loader which automatically trams to the Stockpile and when it arrives the operator takes control and empties the bucket.
The operator launches the loader again which automatically trams from the Stockpile to the Stope and the next cycle begins. After a few weeks or months when the Stope has been emptied the operator can select a new Stope and a new tramming route. It only takes about five minutes for a trained (non-technical) person to enter a new AGS route. No lap-top or any other equipment is required to do this, just the usual Control-Chair switches.
What are the best features of the Nautilus AGS system?
It’s simple and easy to understand. The equipment is small, rugged and very reliable. A mine electrician can easily maintain this system. The loader equipment can be installed in about 5 hours. The tunnel equipment is small, rugged and short-circuit proof. The maps used to guide the loader can be made by the operator.
How good is AGS with very big loaders?
AGS has been operating the two biggest loaders in the world – the Sandvik LH621 at Prominent Hill, Australia since 2012. These loaders are fitted with the largest bucket available and tram in very tight tunnels.
How good is AGS with small, difficult loaders?
Newmont’s Midas Mine in the USA has four very small Sandvik LH204 loaders which have almost zero space for AGS equipment. These loaders use Parker’s IQAN Canbus system which was quite difficult to interface with. In spite of these problems the Nautilus AGS systems have been working flawlessly since they were installed in 2011.
How good is AGS with CAT loaders?
Nautilus currently has two AGS systems at Newmont’s Favona Mine in New Zealand on R1700 loaders and they’ve been working well since 2011.
Eleven more AGS systems are installed on R2900 and R1700 loaders at Gwalia, Challenger, ACM, King of the Hills and Gwalia Deep in Australia and another at Goldcorp’s Campbell Red Lake mine in Canada.
BHP’s Ekati mine was recently purchased by Dominion Diamonds. Ekati has ten Nautilus systems, eight are used in daily operation plus two spare systems. All of them are installed on Cat R1700 and R2900 loaders.
How good is AGS in tough environments?
Ekati’s diamond mine is in Canada, close to the arctic circle. This is a block-caving mine with serious mud-rush problems so access to the four production levels is restricted. Therefore it’s essential that their Nautilus AGS ready systems are rugged and extremely reliable.
Because they have been reliable for many years, Ekati’s management team has approved the conversion this year to full AGS for all of the eight operating systems. The first AGS system will be commissioned on May 7th, 2014.