Caterpillar partners with Rio Tinto to automate Koodaideri

A Cat 793F autonomous truck being loaded. Image: Caterpillar

Caterpillar will supply machinery and autonomous technology for Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The scope of the equipment includes 20 autonomous 793F trucks and four autonomous blast drills, in addition to automation technologies and enterprise systems.

Caterpillar will complement Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program by integrating data analytics technologies to boost production and safety.

“The Caterpillar team is looking forward to working with Rio Tinto to apply our proven mining equipment and technology and to implement additional MineStar autonomy solutions at Koodaideri — a new mine designed to capitalise on leading-edge technology,” Caterpillar group president Resource Industries Denise Johnson said.

“We are excited to work together to advance Rio Tinto’s mine automation and digitalisation program.”

Rio Tinto’s $3.8 billion Koodaideri development is the company’s next major project in the Pilbara region. It is expected to create 600 permanent jobs over a 30-year mine life.

The project is pencilled for a production start date of late 2021 and will produce up to 43 million tonnes of iron ore a year.

Western Australian Cat dealer WesTrac will organise the supply of the equipment to Koodaideri. The agreement between the two companies will create 50 new Western Australia-based roles.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the partnership would build “the most technology-enabled and innovative mine” in the company’s Pilbara iron ore network.

“Technology is rapidly changing our mining operations as we harness innovation to make our operations safer, smarter and more productive. This extension of our partnership with Caterpillar and WesTrac represents an exciting step for our business,” Salisbury said.

Caterpillar’s collaboration with Rio Tinto comes a week after FLSmidth secured an $80 million contract at the site to provide automation and digitalisation technologies.

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