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Energy

Australian coal mines ride self-driving wave

BHP and Mitsubishi eye cost reductions from autonomous trucks and AI

A coal mine in eastern Australia run by BHP and Mitsubishi.

TOKYO -- BHP Group and Mitsubishi Corp. are spending an estimated 50 billion yen ($455 million) on autonomous haul trucks and communications infrastructure to slash production costs and improve efficiency at mines, aiming to insulate themselves from price swings.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture of the Anglo-Australian mining major and a unit of the Japanese trading house, will deploy around 90 autonomous dump trucks this year at one of seven mines it operates in eastern Australia. Plans are to enlarge the fleet to 350 in around two years.

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