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New Mine To Run Fleet Of Autonomous Trucks, Blast Drills

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Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto tapped Caterpillar to supply its Koodaideri iron ore operation in the Pilbara, Western Australia with heavy machinery.

Rio Tinto announced on Tuesday that Caterpillar will supply the mine with a fleet of 20 autonomous 793F trucks as well as four autonomous blast drills. Beyond the autonomous fleet, Caterpillar will also provide loaders, dozers, graders, water carts and diggers for the operation. It will be Rio Tinto's first Pilbara mine to be primarily operated using Caterpillar machinery.

Cost of the procurement was not divulged.

Rio Tinto says about 50 new Western Australia-based roles across project management, product support and technical support, as well as technical trades and apprentices will be created. The number of jobs automated was also not mentioned.

The Koodaideri Mine is a new mine. The $2.6 billion mine was approved in November last year with construction commencing earlier this year. Production capacity of the mine will be 43 million tonnes annually and is expected to commence by the end of 2021. A pre-feasibility study into Koodaideri Phase 2, which could increase annual capacity to 70 million tonnes, is ongoing.

Written with material from Rio Tinto news release. Creative Commons image of Caterpillar truck courtesy of Roy Luck.
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