Rio Tinto’s Fleet of 80 Komatsu Vehicles have now moved over 1 billion tonnes of ore and waste material in Western Australia’s Pilbara Region.
Since 2008, Rio Tinto has placed a significant focus on its autonomous truck program. Recently, its program hit a major milestone as Rio Tinto announced that they had successfully moved 1 billion tonnes of material, additionally, they spoke about their plans to expand the program in the future.
In 2017 Rio Tinto’s fleet of autonomous vehicles accounted for around a quarter of all material moved across their Pilbara mines. On average, each autonomous truck logged around 700 more operational hours than their non-autonomous counterparts. More importantly, zero injuries have been attributed to autonomous haul trucks since they were deployed.
Rio Tinto’s iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury spoke about the significant milestone “Hauling one billion tonnes autonomously is an impressive milestone for our business and again highlights Rio Tinto’s pioneering spirit when it comes to adopting revolutionary new technologies which are making the industry safer and more efficient.
“We are studying future additions to our autonomous truck fleet that we expect will contribute to our $5 billion productivity programme, specifically Iron Ore’s commitment to deliver $500 million of additional free cash flow from 2021 onwards.
“We remain committed to working closely with our employees as we expand our autonomous haul truck fleet including providing opportunities for new roles, redeployment, retraining and upskilling.”
Furthermore, Rio Tinto also spoke about their plans to expand their program, which is expected to reach over 140 vehicles by 2020. Currently, around 20% of Rio’s 400 strong haul fleet is autonomous, this is expected to reach 30% after Rio’s retrofitting projects are completed.
Last month, Rio Tinto approved the retrofitting of 48 Komatsu and Caterpillar haul trucks over the next two years.