Rio Tinto trials remote control ship-loader at Dampier Port

Rio Tinto is trialling tele-operated ship-loading equipment at the Dampier Port in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto is trialling tele-operated ship-loading equipment at the Dampier Port in Western Australia. 

The company says the technology can be remote controlled by an operator from the shore using a specialised console. 

One of the ship-loaders at the port has been fitted with video cameras, thermal imagers, lasers and sensors. 

The data provided by these devices is sent to the console and used to simulate a view from the boom of the ship-loader.

According to Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh, the technology has the potential to greatly enhance port operations.

"Application of this type of technology continues Rio Tinto’s drive for operational efficiency,’ he said in a statement. 

“It leads us towards greater efficiency, lower production costs, improved health, safety and environmental performance and more attractive working conditions."

The trial is being carried out in collaboration with the CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship.

“This new technology will not only improve efficiency, but will also remove the operator from a potentially hazardous position in a cabin on the ship-loader boom," Flagship director Peter Lilly said.

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