Rio Tinto successfully deployed the AutoHaul project, establishing the world’s largest robot and first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network.
“It’s been a challenging journey to automate a rail network of this size and scale in a remote location like the Pilbara, but early results indicate significant potential to improve productivity, providing increased system flexibility and reducing bottlenecks,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director Rail, Port & Core Services Ivan Vella said.
Since completing the first loaded run in July, Rio Tinto has steadily increased the number of autonomous journeys across its iron ore operations in Western Australia in a controlled and safe manner, with over 1 million km now travelled autonomously.
Over the coming months the company will continue to refine the autonomous operations to ensure we are able to maximise value.
The AUD 940 million (USD 670.8 million) AutoHaul programme is focused on automating trains transporting iron ore to Rio Tinto’s port facilities in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Rio Tinto operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 km 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 about 40 hours.