Australian Mine Using Robotic Trucks

Four years after a Rio Tinto executive announced the Mine of the Future program, an Australian newspaper reports some trucks at its remote West Angelas iron ore mine are being remotely controlled.

Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future™ program is making progress, according to a report published by Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper that says some hauling trucks operating inside the West Angelas iron ore mine in the remote Pilbara region are equipped with GPS systems, radar, and lasers and are being operated by controllers in Perth, more than 700 miles away.

West Angelas is the home site for the R&D program, which has been under way for about four years.

The report says Rio Tinto, a giant mining company, also plans to use remotely controlled trains in Australia. The company says the project will revolutionize the way mining has been done for more than a century, improving the company's sustainability performance while increasing efficiency, cutting production costs, and improving safety, health, and environmental performance.

Rio Tinto says automated production drills, loaders, and haul trucks will be operated remotely by personnel working much as air traffic controllers work.

A key advantage is that this equipment enables work in locations where the company is unable to find enough workers.

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