Rio Tinto today opened an automated hub which can control its rail systems, infrastructure facilities and port operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The Operations Centre, located alongside Perth domestic airport, is part of the company’s ‘Mine of the Future’ vision.
According to Rio, the facility uses “cutting-edge networks” to ensure all Pilbara operations up to 1500 km away can be controlled from Perth with the maximum efficiency.
The operation features 200 controllers and schedulers and more than 230 technical planning and support staff
"Two and a half years ago Rio announced that it would press ahead with plans to create the Mine of the Future to build on the technology advantage we had established over our peers," the company’s Australia chief executive Sam Walsh said.
“This Operations Centre is fundamental to our vision of the Pilbara as a single, integrated ‘one mine’ logistics system.
"We are already seeing the advantages this investment delivers.
“We can now operate our Pilbara iron ore operations above nameplate capacity, redefining the limits of what was considered possible.
“These benefits flow directly to our bottom line.”
According to Walsh, this is the largest implementation of automation in mining on the planet.
“Our driverless trucks, remotely operated drill and blasting, automated train systems and remote train loading functions are just the start of a revolution that is transforming the way we extract value from our resources,” he said.
“It will result in a far better, safer industry than could have been imagined even a decade ago."