Publication: GMG White Paper on System Safety for Autonomous Mining

September 29, 2021 

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has published the System Safety for Autonomous Mining white paper. This white paper aims to provide a comprehensive view of the need for a system safety approach for mining companies deploying and using autonomous systems. It also aims to increase awareness of the system safety and its benefits by providing education and context on safety management and the system safety lifecycle, the purpose and typical contents of a safety case, the significance of human-systems integration, and factors that influence software safety management. 

“With an ever-increasing use of technology in mining, particularly in surface mining equipment, it is important to understand the overall impact of systems implementation on safety,” says Chirag Sathe, project co-leader and Principal Mining Systems at BHP. “I hope the white paper helps to increase the awareness of this important emerging topic in mine safety, not only within mining companies but also for OEMs, technology developers and implementors.” 

On the role of industry collaboration both in the development and intended use of this white paper, project co-leader Gareth Topham says, “The white paper demonstrates that the mining community continues to see the benefit in collaborating to ensure the introduction and the ongoing operation of autonomous mobile equipment is done in a safe environment. It will enable discussions between all parties to pursue opportunities to improve the level of risk to safety by addressing the topics that are contained in the paper and improving on the communication that delivers a more holistic understanding of these systems. “ 

On the importance of this topic from an OEM perspective, Michael Lewis, Technical Director at Komatsu says, “The adoption of autonomous systems in mining has been growing rapidly since the first Komatsu autonomous trucks entered into production in 2008 and it’s been exciting to support our customers as they expand use of autonomous systems. Safety has always been the top priority for our industry, and as the use of autonomy grows to cover more of the mining value chain it’s important that we look at the whole system it impacts.”   

“I applaud the truly collaborative work between mine operators, OEMs and other GMG members in the creation of this white paper,” Lewis adds. 

As only an introduction to the topic, there will likely be future work to provide more complete guidance on applying system safety to autonomous systems in mining. “GMG, as an industry-led organization, is proud to have had the opportunity to facilitate this work with the global mining community,” says Andrew Scott, GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups and National Cluster Development Manager at METS Ignited.

“I look forward to the discussion this white paper will spark as well as further collaboration on the topic.” 

“I would like to thank all who provided their input and support,” says Sathe.  

Read it here.

About the Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) 

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) is a network of representatives from mining companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), original technology manufacturers (OTMs), research organizations, academia, regulatory agencies, consultancies, and industry associations who collaborate to tackle the challenges facing our industry. GMG aims to accelerate the improvement of mining performance, safety and sustainability by creating guidelines and white papers that address common industry challenges, facilitating collaboration and expanding the industry’s knowledge base. GMG also hosts and supports events that bring mining stakeholders together along with external industries to address the industry’s challenges, successes and innovations. Learn more about GMG at