DMP code to guide global safety standards

A new international guideline for autonomous mining will be based on a code of practice released by DMP.
Date: Monday, 12 December 2016

The Canadian-based Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group is developing a new international guideline for autonomous mining based on a code of practice released by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

In 2015, the department released the world's first code of practice for safe autonomous mining.

Developed by the department through a working group of Western Australian industry experts, the code of practice also had input from technical experts from across the globe.

This included the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) technical committee on mobile autonomous mining systems.

Mines Safety Director and State Mining Engineer Andrew Chaplyn said the Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group made the decision to base its global guidelines on DMP's code following a meeting in Tucson in the United States.

"This reflects Western Australia’s global leadership in the field of autonomous mining equipment and its safe operation," Mr Chaplyn said.

"It is also indicative of the collaborative approach the department used in developing the code."

Senior Inspector of Mines Peter O'Loughlin is on the steering committee for the new guideline following his coordination of the code of practice.

The code of practice, which took 18 months to develop, helps companies safely introduce and manage autonomous mobile mining systems in their operations.

Mr Chaplyn said that as for any operation in the resources industry, there is an expectation that the risks will be understood and minimised to ensure workers are protected.

Western Australia's working group included representatives from equipment manufacturers, mining companies, technology experts, as well as the regulator.

The code of practice was developed as autonomous mining systems are not specifically covered in the Mine Safety and Inspection Act 1994 and its associated regulations.