MAC: Mines and Communities

Rio Tinto advances its "mine of the future"

Published by MAC on 2019-01-07
Source: Australian Mining (2019-01-07)

But London Calling speculates on the past

Rio Tinto has just completed a key part of its "Mine of the Future", with installation of its autonomous self-drive fleet  in the Pilbara iron-ore field of Western Australia.

The company hastens to claim that this move won't  result in worker redundancies or dissatisfaction.

No more than did the earlier years of the industrial revolution in Britain?

It's a thought that doesn't seem out of place in 2019, as many of us commemorate the two hundreth anniversary of those protestors killed in the so-called Peterloo Massacre.

[London Calling is published by Nostromo Research and does not necessarily reflect the views of any other party. Reproduction is welcome under a Creative Commons Licence]

Rio Tinto finalises Pilbara autonomous train deployment

Australian Mining

7 January 2019

Rio Tinto has completed the roll out of the AutoHaul autonomous freight train system across its iron ore operations in Western Australia.

AutoHaul completed its first successful run in the Pilbara region in July last year.

The system averaged 34 trains a day by October last year and has since travelled over one million kilometres.

The AutoHaul program cost around $US940 million ($1.2 billion) and is the latest element in Rio Tinto’s autonomy-focused Mine of the Future program, which launched in 2008 with an initial focus on autonomous haul trucks.

Over the decade since its announcement, the program has expanded to incorporate drills, trains and even smaller vehicles such as light trucks.

In August 2018, Scania launched a trial of its autonomous XT tipper truck system at Rio Tinto’s Dampier Salt operation in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director for rail, port and core services Ivan Vella said AutoHaul’s early results indicated “significant potential” to improve productivity and reduce bottlenecks.

He also indicated that the system could co-exist with the company’s current train staff.

“Over the coming months we will continue to refine our autonomous operations to ensure we are able to maximise value,” he said.

“We continue to work closely with drivers during this period and do not expect to make any redundancies in 2019 as a result of the deployment of AutoHaul.”

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