Mining giant Rio Tinto announced that they have successfully deployed AutoHaul™, claiming it to be the worlds largest and also the worlds first automated heavy haul, long-distance rail network.
AutoHaul™, which is part of Rio Tinto’s Rail Capacity Enhancement (RCE) project, focuses on automating trains transporting Iron Ore to Rio Tinto’s port facilities across the region. The programme, which is estimated to cost $1 billion, transports Iron Ore across 1,700 km of track across 16 mines and 4 port facilities in the Pilbara region situation in Western Australia district.
The AutoHaul™ is estimated to save Rio Tinto $100 million annually in operational costs.
The project underwent its first test run in July 2018, and since then has successfully travelled over a million kilometres autonomously.
The safe and successful deployment of AutoHaul™ across our network is a strong reflection of the pioneering spirit inside Rio Tinto. 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.Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director Rail, Port & Core Services
AutoHaul™ is another step towards Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future™
AutoHaul™ is part of the ambitious Mine of the Future ™ program of Rio Tinto that is focused on finding advanced mining methods and includes the futuristic automation project that oversees robotics, driverless vehicle fleet, etc. All with a view of automating its’ mining operations.
Operations Center: A centralised command and control center situated in Perth. The state-of-the-art facility has visualisation and collaboration tools providing real-time information.
Autonomous Haulage Systems (AHS): Rio Tinto has owns and operates the worlds largest autonomous haulage system trucks comprising of a fleet of 80 trucks operating autonomously. The systems are operated by a central controller and uses pre-defined GPS routes to automatically navigate.
Automated Drilling Systems (ADS): Rio Tinto has 11 Automated Drilling Systems that have drilled over 5,000 kilometres combined.
AutoHaul™ : AutoHaul™ is the largest robot in the world built by Rio Tinto to automate transport of iron ores from mines to port facilities.