Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia will utilise a fleet of 20 autonomous Caterpillar self driving trucks (793F mining haul trucks) in addition to four autonomous blast drills to improve safety and productivity.
In a media release today, Rio Tinto confirmed a deal to purchase the self driving trucks and other autonomous mining equipment had been inked. Caterpillar will also supply a range of other mining equipment for the Koodaideri operation.
“Beyond the autonomous fleet, Caterpillar will also provide loaders, dozers, graders, water carts and diggers for the operation which will be Rio Tinto’s first Pilbara mine to be primarily operated using Caterpillar machinery,” Rio said.
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Rio Tinto has previously stated that the first production roles are expected to commence in 2021 and the Koodaideri operations would create over 2000 jobs during construction and 600 permanent roles. Caterpillar self driving trucks will now feature as core mine haulage.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury previously said that the Koodaideri project would be a significant leap forward for the global mining industry and the company.
“We’ve been building mines in the Pilbara for over 50 years, and, subject to final approvals, Koodaideri will incorporate all of that knowledge to enable us to build the smartest, safest and most efficient mine we’ve ever constructed,” Salisbury said.
Rio Tinto plans in place to increase its autonomous haulage fleet to more than 140 by the end of 2019.