The Codelco-owned El Teniente underground copper mine is prone to mud rushes caused by ice melting on the Andes range on the surface.
This hazard had closed the exploration area for months.
This, combined with Codelco's plan to expand operations to the seventh and eighth levels, made it necessary to find a solution that would allow the copper-rich mud to be mined safely.
RCT retrofitted its Controlmaster teleremote and guidance automation systems, which had previously been fitted to a surface dozer, loader and truck at Codelco's Andina mine, to El Teniente's Sandvik LH517 underground loaders.
Operators were relocated to a surface control room and connected to the loaders via the mine's communication network.
Installation and commissioning was undertaken by RCT and its channel partner Power Train Technologies.
The system had to tie into Codelco's existing digital WiFi network, which required some collaboration between Codelco's mining, maintenance, engineering and innovation teams.
RCT's automation solution is designed to ensure the loader travels along the optimum path and at a speed that delivers consistent cycle times across all drivers during every shift.
Besides tramming faster the loader also avoids walls and obstacles, significantly reducing machine damage and unplanned downtime.
The operators' working environment vastly improves too because they are in the Automation Centre at the surface, rather than in a cab underground.