JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Mining giant Rio Tinto will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its iron-ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50% by 2019, after signing agreements with manufacturers Caterpillar and Komatsu to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles.
A total of 29 Komatsu haul trucks will be retrofitted with autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology starting next year. The project at the Brockman 4 operation is scheduled for completion by mid-2019, allowing the mine to run entirely in AHS mode once fully deployed.
A further 19 Caterpillar haul trucks at the Marandoo mine will also be retrofitted starting mid-2018 for completion by the end of 2019. The retrofit is significant for Rio Tinto as it marks the first time AHS technology has been deployed by the company on Caterpillar haul trucks.
Once completed, the retrofit projects are expected to make a significant contribution toward Rio Tinto’s $5-billion productivity programme, helping to underpin the continued delivery of superior returns for shareholders.
“We are excited to be starting a new chapter in our automation journey with a valued long-term partner in Caterpillar and we are proud to be extending our successful partnership with Komatsu on this world-first retrofitting initiative.
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