19 July 2012
Rio Tinto's driverless trucks achieve a new milestone at Yandicoogina mine under Mine of the Future™ programme
Rio Tinto and Komatsu Ltd celebrated a new milestone when the new driverless trucks commenced hauling high grade iron ore at the Yandicoogina mine in Western Australia.
The Junction South East (JSE) pit now has a fleet of 10 Komatsu driverless haul trucks which will move high grade ore for the first time, marking a major step towards full operational deployment of the project. The trucks will be used for all haulage requirements in the pit, moving high grade, low grade and waste material from multiple loading units.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh and Komatsu Ltd president and chief executive officer Kunio Noji, were at Yandicoogina for the opening of the JSE autonomous pit.
Mr Walsh said "The deployment of these trucks at Yandocoogina is the next step in our programme to introduce over 150 driverless trucks to our Pilbara operations, making us the world's largest owner and operator of these vehicles.
"Autonomous haulage is an important component in our Mine of the Future™ programme. These new trucks will work with our pioneering Operations Centre that integrates and manages the logistics of 14 mines, three ports and two railways. They will be a critical part of our drive to outstanding safety and production efficiency as we grow our business towards 353 million tonnes a year.
"Rio Tinto has been using Komatsu's advanced truck technology at our mines, for almost 20 years."
Mr Noji said "I am extremely pleased to witness this next stage in the expansion of our partnership with Rio Tinto. Komatsu and Rio Tinto are global partners and have developed a strong alliance throughout the years.
"We are confident that our leading-edge Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology will accelerate Rio Tinto's Mine of the Future™ objectives through improving safety and mine operations."
The deployment of the driverless truck fleet forms a key part of the Mine of the Future™ programme. Launched in 2008, the Mine of the Future™ programme creates next generation technologies for mining operations resulting in greater efficiency, lower production costs, and improved health, safety and environmental performance.
Rio Tinto has been testing the Komatsu AHS, the world's first commercial autonomous mining haulage system, in the Pilbara since December 2008. During the trials the AHS technology demonstrated benefits in health, safety and productivity.
Komatsu, founded in 1921, has established a solid leading international market position in the areas of construction and mining equipment as well as industrial machinery.
By upholding "Quality and Reliability" as the most important management policy, Komatsu is resolutely committed to providing safe, innovative products and services that best meet the needs and expectations of its customers around the world.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
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