"Ferreyros and Caterpillar are proud of being the first in deploying autonomous trucks in the country. Peru is in the awakening of a new era in mining."
To what extent have you seen demand for mining equipment evolve in the last 12 months?
The second half of 2020 was positive, with each month from July better than the previous one. 2021 has continued this trend, with mining companies looking to produce as much as they can, and the industry has become accustomed to working safely and efficiently around Covid. Our shops today (June 2021) are almost full and some of them are running double shifts because customers are pushing for more, which is partly a result of the high copper price.
In 2020, Ferreyros made a large investment in its parts depot in Lima, rebuilding the facility to give us 40% more capacity. This was completed early this year, and has enabled growth through faster cycles and more storage. Investments such as this are long term and characteristic of the way Ferreyros has operated as the company approaches its 100 year anniversary in 2022.
How will the Cat 794 AC 320-tonne trucks at Quellaveco benefit the operation in the long term?
Ferreyros has sold 27 trucks to Anglo American for Quellaveco, of which 16 units are already on site (as of September 2021). Eight of these trucks are currently operating autonomously, with no driver, with other four running manually, and the rest being assembled and prepared for autonomy. At the moment, both autonomous and manned trucks are operating at the mine site, but we expect that next year, all 27 trucks will run autonomously.
Quellaveco will be at the vanguard of large-scale autonomous mining in the Americas. Ferreyros and Caterpillar are proud of being the first in deploying autonomous trucks in the country. Peru is in the awakening of a new era in mining.
Autonomy brings numerous benefits, such as a faster production cycle, as we can increase speed in a safer environment and maximize the trucks’ utilization. Also, the performance of the trucks is optimized. Worldwide experiences with Cat autonomy had shown results of 20% to 30% improvement in productivity.
Can you tell us about Cat Command hauling technology from Caterpillar’s MineStar platform, and explain how this allows mining companies to adopt autonomy?
The backbone of Caterpillar’s autonomous solutions is the MineStar suite, which was introduced to Ferreyros’ portfolio more than 10 years ago. Originally this was designed to obtain data from equipment to analyze how the machines are performing, and then evolved to include a fleet management system and high-precision technologies. Therefore, we now have a comprehensive technology portfolio, which includes Cat Command. This allows us to control the machine, and importantly it is OEM agnostic, valid for Cat units and other brands. It started with the Cat 793 truck, a mechanical drive vehicle used in Australia, and has also been introduced to the electrical 794 trucks seen at projects such as Quellaveco and Quebrada Blanca. Today, almost 400 trucks are operating with Cat Command globally, which is a result of customers committed to boosting their productivity through automated operations. Cat trucks running in Peru, including units with a 400-ton payload, can be converted to autonomous vehicles. I’d also like to highlight that we are in the process of implementing autonomy in underground mining in Peru, with a R1700 LHD unit, using Cat Command technology.
Ferreyros is a large employer and collaborates in many mining projects. In your opinion, how important is the economic ecosystem that mining creates in Peru?
We support the mining industry as a key driver for improving the welfare of Peruvians. By taking advantage of the richness beneath our feet and inside our mountains in an environmentally-friendly way and by paying taxes, we can generate wealth which benefits many people directly and indirectly. For one person working at a mine, there are eight who produce goods or services around them. Mining represents 60% of Peru’s total exports. Mining companies also promote the best practices in terms of sustainability, safety and productivity, and we as solutions partners accompany them in their goals.