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Manufacturers embrace new technology for longwall automation

14 July, 2009

CSIRO Exploration & Mining and Bucyrus Australia signed a non-exclusive worldwide licensing agreement giving Bucyrus access to CSIRO’s LASC longwall automation technology on Thursday, July 9 2009.

CSIRO developed the technology with funding from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) to locate and guide coal cutting equipment in underground longwall mines.

“It is important to the industry that all miners have access to the technology, whatever their supplier of choice,” Dr McWilliams said.

Bucyrus was the first longwall Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to collaborate with CSIRO in the development of the technology at BMA’s Broadmeadow, Xstrata’s Beltana and Anglo’s Grasstree mines.

Now with this license agreement in place, Bucyrus becomes the last major OEM to include the technology in its equipment.

CSIRO Business Unit Leader Exploration and Mining Dr Mike McWilliams said he was delighted with the broad availability of LASC automation through major manufacturers.

“It is important to the industry that all miners have access to the technology, whatever their supplier of choice,” Dr McWilliams said.

ACARP Executive Director Mr Mark Bennetts said it was exciting to have met a major objective of the research program”.

“The goal was to make the benefits of improved productivity and the movement of people away from hazardous working environments of the automated systems universally available to industry,” Bennetts said.

”Now, with the signing of Bucyrus, every major manufacturer around the world can include LASC technology in its longwall equipment.”

This outcome is the result of extensive and close cooperation between CSIRO, industry and the manufacturers.

Bucyrus Australia Managing Director John Cassells said that the integration of LASC technology into the Bucyrus Longwall Automation System will further strengthen Bucyrus’ position as a longwall technology provider.

“We are happy to have reached agreement with CSIRO which recognises our existing technologies and allows us to further develop the LASC automation system and adapt it to include future innovations from our own company, CSIRO and others,” Cassels said.

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