Tech & Science The world’s largest robot just made it first delivery of iron ore in Western Australia

07:11  13 july  2018
07:11  13 july  2018 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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Western Australia 's iron ore output for 2011 was 474 million tonnes, 97% of Australian production. The bulk of Western Australian ore went to China, which imported 70 percent of 2010 production, followed by Japan with 19% and South Korea with 10%. The state has the world ' s largest Economic

In early April at the launch of a joint venture with education authorities in Western Australia to train workers in automated systems, Chris Salisbury, chief executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore , said that his company' s computer-controlled railway was "already the biggest robot in the world ."

a large long train on a steel track: A file photo of a Rio Tinto train in the Pilbara. Image: Supplied© Provided by Supplied A file photo of a Rio Tinto train in the Pilbara. Image: Supplied
  • Rio Tinto's train robot just delivered its first load of iron ore in Western Australia's Pilbara.
  • Operators at Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre in Perth more than 1,500 kilometres away monitored the train via remote cameras.
  • It's a milestone in Rio's $940 million AutoHaul program.

Rio Tinto, the world’s largest autonomous truck operator, has just received the first delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train, said to be the world's largest robot, in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The autonomous train, consisting of three locomotives and carrying around 28,000 tonnes of iron ore, travelled over 280 kilometres from Rio Tinto’s mining operations in Tom Price to the port of Cape Lambert on Tuesday.

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About 98% of world iron ore production is used to make iron in the form of steel. The ores from the major mines in Western Australia ' s Pilbara region are hauled from working faces to crushing and screening plants using trucks that can carry over 300 tonnes.

Australia is the world ' s largest producer of both bauxite and alumina, with half of national production coming from Western Australia .[6] Alcoa's Huntly mine provides the feedstock world ' s third- largest iron - ore producer (15% of the world ' s total) and extracts 75% of Australia 's 240 tonnes of gold.

Operators at Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre in Perth, more than 1,500 kilometres away, monitored the train via remote cameras. Public rail crossings on the network are fitted with CCTV cameras.

Rio Tinto’s $940 million AutoHaul program is on schedule to complete by the end of the year. Rio Tinto operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 kilometres of track in the Pilbara, transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals.

The average return distance of these trains is about 800 kilometres with the average journey cycle, including loading and dumping, taking 40 hours.

"The program will deliver the world’s first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network, operating the world’s largest and longest robots," says Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director Rail, Port and Core Services Ivan Vella.

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Rio Tinto, one of the world ’ s largest mining firms, uses more than 80 of these three-story-high trucks at its iron ore mines in Western Australia . The company is also developing driverless trains that will carry ore over hundreds of miles of track.

Autonomous haul trucks drive through a pit at a Rio Tinto iron ore mine in Western Australia ’ s Pilbara region. “I think so, yes,” he says. “You might be just looking at it from an Australian perspective but we are seeing that all around the world .

“This program symbolises both the pioneering spirit and innovative talents of many people across Rio Tinto and shows our absolute commitment to improving safety and productivity, as well as enabling greater flexibility across our operations."

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China’s breakneck growth fueled an iron ore boom in Western Australia . “ It made all your clothes go pink,” said Julie Arif, a city council member who was still a girl Nicknamed the Iron Giant after its emergence as the world ’ s largest iron ore export port, Port Hedland has climbed from the world ’ s

· China is the world ’ s largest steel producer and iron ore consumer and Western Australia ’ s largest export market. · The WA Treasury Pre-election Financial Projections Statement forecasts Western Australia ’s iron ore sales to increase to 830 million tonnes by 2019-20.

“We are working closely with drivers during this transition period as we prepare our employees for new ways of working as a result of automation."

Rio Tinto is also expanding its fleet of autonomous haul trucks, controlled from Perth, with 30% of its fleet, or about 130 trucks, autonomous by 2019.

The auto system allows trucks to be operated by a central controller rather than a driver. It uses pre-defined GPS courses to automatically navigate roads and intersections and knows actual locations, speeds and directions of all vehicles at all times.

Rio Tinto started deploying autonomous technology in 2008.

In the Pilbara region, Rio Tinto operates the world’s largest integrated portfolio of iron ore assets, a network of 15 iron ore mines. Its earnings from iron ore were $US11.52 billion in 2017, the largest part of its business.

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