Rio Tinto's autonomous trucks move 100 million tonnes

23 April 2013

Rio Tinto's autonomous trucks move 100 million tonnes

Rio Tinto has reached a significant milestone in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, moving 100 million tonnes by autonomous haul truck (AHT). The autonomous haul trucks are a key component in Rio Tinto's strategy of employing next-generation technology to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve health, safety and environmental performance.

The 100 million tonnes includes material from West Angelas operation, where this new technology was first trialled, Yandicoogina, which currently operates a fleet of 13 AHTs and more recently Nammuldi operations, where six AHTs commenced operation in March and have already moved in excess of two million tonnes.

Hope Downs 4 is gearing up to commence autonomous operation in early 2014, with four autonomous-ready trucks already on site. Rio Tinto's General Manager Mine of the Future™ James Petty said the technology had performed well to date.

"Since we commenced trials in December 2008, we have demonstrated improvements in both safety and productivity and in that time we have trained more than 270 employees to operate and work alongside these autonomous haul trucks," said Mr Petty.

"Our teams managing this equipment recognise the significant opportunity they have to be up-skilled in a mining system which is at the forefront of the global mining industry."

Rio Tinto expects to have more than 40 trucks operating autonomously across three sites in the Pilbara by early 2014.

Fast facts

  • Nineteen autonomous 930E Komatsu haul trucks currently operating across two mining operations.
  • Truck Payload is 290 tonnes
  • 10% improvement in utilised time with the autonomous trucks. 
  • Plan to increase to more than 40 haul trucks across three sites by early 2014.
  • Over 100 million tonnes of earth has been moved since the trials commenced in December 2008

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

For further information, please contact:

Media Relations Iron Ore

Gervase Greene
Office: +61 (0) 8 9327 2975
Mobile: +61 (0) 408 098 572

Rebecca Murphy
Office: +61 (0) 8 9143 5397
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 933 631