Thursday, September 7, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Anglo American Awarded For Local AI Innovation

A central Queensland mine has been recognised by its peers at the Queensland Mining Industry Innovation and Health Awards held on the Gold Coast last month.

Anglo American Dawson Mine CHPP Engineering Coordinator Matthew Downing, along with the Dawson CHPP (coal handling and preparation plant) team, won the People’s Choice category for their work using artificial intelligence to eliminate cable belt dislodgements.

The adaptation of artificial intelligence to eliminate cable belt dislodgments and avoid chip failure when transporting raw coal along a conveyor was acknowledged for its improvements to the mine’s safety and efficiency.

Mr Downing explained the 27km cable conveyor transporting raw metallurgical coal across Dawson Mine comprised two steel wire roles that carried sections of rubber conveyor belts, joined together by clips.

He said because they were prone to regular dislodgements as clips failed or broke, hundreds of meters of belt would bunch up following a failure by the clip.

“Since implementing this technology, we haven’t missed a failing clip and the issue of belt dislodgements have been totally eliminated,” Mr Downing said.

“The time for a technician to review clips for each cable belt has been reduced to five minutes – and can be done remotely.”

Mr Downing said the team first came up with the idea of using a camera to take photos at specific intervals and trialed different cameras to capture belt pictures while the conveyor ran at full speed.

“(Clip failure) caused significant damage, released large amounts of energy and would take days to repair – not to mention lost product in the process,” he said.

“During repairs teams could be exposed to hazardous work environment and high-risk manual handling tasks.”

Anglo American Australia CEO Daniel van der Westhuizen congratulated the team for developing an innovative solution to a significant and costly challenge for the business.

“Congratulations to Matt and the Dawson team, for their work in developing an important safety and efficiency solution that not only saves significant people hours, but removes individuals from exposure, and can be simply replicated to other conveyors attached to coal handling and processing plants.”

The awards were held as part of the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference, the biggest annual event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, attended by over 1,100 delegates.

Matthew Downing and the Dawson CHPP team were awarded for using artificial intelligence to eliminate cable belt dislodgements. Photos supplied

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