Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Anthony Kirke, GM Operations Planning, Fortescue Metals Group: Write Up
Austmine Limited
/ Categories: Partner Events

Anthony Kirke, GM Operations Planning, Fortescue Metals Group: Write Up

On Tuesday 28th February, METS and Miners gathered in Perth for our Smart Mining Networking Event featuring Anthony Kirke, Group Manager Operations Planning, Fortescue Metals Group.

The event was sponsored by Austmine Industry Partner, Akzo Nobel, along with Platinum Sponsor, Schenck Process and Gold Sponsors, Downer and RCR

Anthony joined FMG in 2010 as General Manager of Solomon Mine, where he was instrumental in the introduction of the Autonomous Haulage System in that mine. Although he now has a role with a much wider scope, overseeing all of FMGs technical services, he still has a major role in this project due to his relationship with Caterpillar (CAT). Anthony continues to seek opportunities to improve efficiency through motivation the innovation of his people, and where appropriate, the application of technology. 

In his presentation Anthony addressed two major points around the theme of interoperability:
• Collaborating and building a relationship with OEMs
• People and culture - essential to effective implementation of innovation

FMG introduced 54 autonomous trucks at their Solomon mine, which has increased productivity on the mine by 20%, as the trucks run faster, for longer. In order to achieve such a great result, Anthony had to work closely with the truck supplier CAT as well as additional partners such as CISCO. In building a strong and collaborative relationship, Anthony was able to feedback issues and pitfalls to his suppliers, who were then able to work with him to find suitable solutions.

In looking forward to the next innovation project that FMG will undertake, Anthony discussed the autonomous drill rig trials that FMG are running. Once again Anthony has built a collaborative relationship with a supplier, this time Orica. He is working closely with Orica to get the most out of the project, to determine overall mine site implementation.

FMG has partnered with CAT again on their Mine Star product, to deliver their geospatial data. Mine Star’s high precision GPS is used with up to 215 pieces of equipment, connected for tracking purposes with daily output into Vulcan, to facilitate effective mine planning. Essentially, joining various strong processes to provide more reliable information which leads to effective decision making. 

The overall goal of this system is to integrate everything from geospatial process to haulage. The only way that this will be possible is to continuously build relationships with partners based on mutual respect and trust. Anthony stressed that the success of Solomon mine’s increase in productivity was because of his relationships with OEMs like Caterpillar.

The second key attribute to success are people and culture. Anthony discussed how any operational rollout needs to include people, process and leadership. Working closely with leaders in his team, FMG devised a strategy around encouraging autonomous technology in a positive light, as opposed to allowing a culture of uncertainty to grow. Often autonomous technology can be seen as a threat. Anthony detailed that this doesn’t require a change in mindset, but a positive push in culture from leaders and the team. 

In closing Anthony once again reiterated that the way for not only METS to thrive, but the entire industry, is through collaboration and partnerships. The right culture, people and process is key to a successful implementation to technology, which should all be led by the company’s leadership.

Austmine would like to thank Anthony for such an informative presentation and applauded his ongoing effort in the industry in building relationships to deliver new innovative technologies.

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