Rio Tinto achieves first autonomous delivery of iron ore

Posted: 17 July 2018 | | No comments yet

Autonomous train operation has developed further in Western Australia with Rio Tinto’s first successful delivery of iron ore using a driverless train…


Rio Tinto has completed the first delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The autonomous train, that consisted of three locomotives and carried approximately 28,000 tonnes of iron ore, travelled over 280km from Rio Tinto’s mining operations in Tom Price to the port of Cape Lambert on 10 July 2018.

The driverless vehicle was monitored remotely by operators from Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre in Perth more than 1,500km away.

The inaugural journey is a significant milestone for Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul programme. AutoHaul is on schedule to complete by the end of 2018, unlocking significant safety and productivity gains for the business, as well as optimising the company’s iron ore system by providing more flexibility and reducing bottlenecks.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Managing Director Rail, Port & Core Services, Ivan Vella, said: “The first safe delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train is a key milestone for AutoHaul. The programme will deliver the world’s first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network, operating the world’s largest and longest robots.

“This programme 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. 

“We will continue to ensure our autonomous trains operate safely under the wide range of conditions we experience in the Pilbara, where we record more than eight million kilometres of train travel each year.

“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.”