Human free mining being trialled by BHP Billiton
COAL trucks controlled from a distant command centre could be introduced to Queensland mines, with resources giant BHP Billiton having already tested the technology at its operations in the United States.
BHP's coal arm - in the form of its alliance with Mitsubishi - confirmed this week it was investigating autonomous machinery, including coal-carrying trucks, for its Central Queensland coal mines.
Its Blackwater mine has already tested automatic drilling rigs.
According to a spokeswoman, BMA was also "studying autonomous haulage options", like those used at its mines in Western Australia, a decision was yet to be made.
"BMA continues to assess and review new technologies where it allows our business to be more competitive and to improve safety," he said.
BMA already knows the machines would work in Central Queensland, they were tested at its American coal mine in New Mexico even before BHP introduced them to the Pilbara.
Machine manufacturer Caterpillar spent 21 months testing the remote-controlled trucks on the site until early 2013.