Caterpillar Partners on Self-Driving Haul Trucks at Arizona Copper Mine

Freeport-McMoRan's Bagdad Mine in Arizona represents one of the largest copper reserves on earth. The company will work with Caterpillar to convert its Bagdad fleet of 33 massive Cat 793 haul trucks to an autonomous haulage system using Cat MineStar Command for hauling.

Irving-based Caterpillar is collaborating with Freeport-McMoRan to convert the mining company’s fleet of 33 massive Cat 793 haul trucks at its Bagdad mine in Arizona to an autonomous haulage system using Cat MineStar Command for hauling.

“We’re pleased to collaborate with FCX as they transition to fully autonomous haulage at Bagdad,” Denise Johnson, group president of Caterpillar Resource Industries, said in a statement. “The Cat 793 haul truck remains Caterpillar’s most popular autonomous truck model and is well proven to enhance safety, increase productivity, and reduce idle time across multiple operations, including copper mines. Additionally, Caterpillar continues to work with Freeport, and other mining companies, to introduce new electrification technologies supporting their sustainability objectives.”

Arizona mine has one of the largest copper reserves on earth

The Bagdad Mine is a copper mine in Arizona with one of the largest copper reserves in the world. It has estimated reserves of 962.9 million tons of ore grading 0.36% copper.

“We look forward to partnering with Caterpillar to become the first U.S. copper mine to implement a fully autonomous haulage system and are excited about the numerous benefits it will bring to our Bagdad operation and employees,” Freeport-McMoRan President Kathleen Quirk said in a statement. “The three-year conversion project is expected to improve safety, optimize our fleet, reduce GHG emissions through reduced idle time and position us to capitalize on future technological advancements in electrification.”

Caterpillar said it’s celebrating the 10th anniversary of Cat MineStar Command for hauling.

The company has more than 620 autonomous trucks operating with 15 customers on three continents, it said. While operating autonomously, these trucks have hauled more than 6.9 billion tons of material and traveled more than 143 million miles without causing any reported injuries, Caterpillar added.

The Bagdad mine is roughly 100 miles northwest of Phoenix. The mine is a porphyry copper deposit containing both sulfide and oxide mineralization.

One of the oldest, continuously operating SX/EW plants in the world, it consists of a near 85,000 ton-per-day concentrator that produces copper and molybdenum concentrate and a solution extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant that produces 9 million pounds of copper cathode per year, Caterpillar said.

Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives with 2022 sales and revenues of $59.4 billion.

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