Rio Tinto to double autonomous fleet by 2019

A Cat 793F autonomous truck at the loading face. Image: Caterpillar.

The mining group, which has launched the projects as part of its $5 billion productivity program, plans to retrofit 29 Komatsu haul trucks at the Brockman 4 operation with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology, starting next year.

Brockman 4 will be run entirely in AHS mode once this project has been completed by 2019.

Rio will also retrofit 19 793F trucks with Caterpillar at the Marandoo iron ore mine. The equipment manufacturer will install Cat Command for Hauling software for operation of the fleet as part of the project. It is expected the first few trucks at Marandoo will be retrofitted in mid 2018.

Chris Salisbury, CEO – Iron Ore, Rio Tinto, said the company was excited about starting this new chapter in its automation story with Caterpillar and Komatsu.

“Rapid advances in technology are continuing to revolutionise the way large-scale mining is undertaken across the globe,” he said. “The expansion of our autonomous fleet via retrofitting helps to improve safety, unlocks significant productivity gains, and continues to cement Rio Tinto as an industry leader in automation and innovation.

“We are studying future additions to our autonomous fleet in the Pilbara, based on value, to help deliver our share of $5 billion of additional free cash flow for the company by 2021.

“Rio Tinto is committed to working closely with our workforce as we transition to AHS including providing opportunities for new roles, redeployment, retraining and upskilling.”

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