Mine of the Future™

Mine of the Future™

Launched in 2008, our Mine of the Future™ programme is about finding advanced ways to extract minerals deep within the Earth while reducing environmental impacts and further improving safety.

Operations Centre: Our Operations Centre in Perth is a state-of-the-art facility that enables all our mines, ports and rail systems to be operated from a single location, greatly increasing opportunities for shared experience and overall system improvement. It incorporates visualisation and collaboration tools to provide real-time information across our demand chain, and will allow us to optimise our mining, maintenance and logistic activities across the Pilbara in a way never before possible.

Autonomous haulage systems (AHS): We are the world's largest owner and operator of autonomous haulage system trucks. We have more than 80 autonomous trucks in operation at our Pilbara sites, with plans in place to increase this to more than 140 by the end of 2019, each moving high grade ore. Implementing autonomous haulage means more material can be moved efficiently and safely, creating a direct increase in productivity. Autonomous haul trucks are operated by a supervisory system and a central controller, rather than a driver. They use pre-defined GPS courses to automatically navigate haul roads and intersections and to know actual locations, speeds and directions of other vehicles at all times.

Automated drilling system (ADS): The first successful test proving the feasibility of an Autonomous Drilling System was conducted at the West Angeles mine in 2008. In 2018, the 11 ADS-enabled drills have now drilled more than 5,000 kilometres – that's further than the distance from Perth to Queenstown, New Zealand. The automated blast-hole drill system enables an operator using a single console at a location remote from the machinery to operate multiple drill rigs from multiple manufacturers.

AutoHaul®: AutoHaul® is focused on automating the trains that are essential to transporting the iron ore to our port facilities. Trains started running in autonomous mode in the first quarter of 2017, and already, more than 60 per cent of all train kilometres are now completed in autonomous mode with a driver on board for supervision. Once fully operational, AutoHaul® will unlock significant safety and productivity benefits as a result of reduced variability and increased speed across the network, helping to reduce average cycle times.