A multinational resources company has agreed to spend US$749 million (A$1 billion) on extending the life of one of its existing metal mines.
Rio Tinto recently approved investing in its Greater Tom Price Iron Ore Mine, 282km southeast of Karratha in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The money will be used to help sustain production capacity through establishing the new Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 Mine to explore existing and new deposits, build a new crusher and also a 13km conveyor system that is promised to reduce emissions by 3.5 per cent compared to road transport.
Driverless truck rollout
Despite industry concerns, the proponent is proceeding with installing Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology to its existing fleet of haul trucks at the mine from the year 2021. About half of its haul truck fleet will be capable of operating autonomously by the end of 2019.
Rio defends the move by claiming the AHS will help improve mine safety, productivity and cost savings. It also claims affected workers are being reskilled, redeployed and retrained.
Construction is hoped to start before April 2020 provided the project receives final regulatory approval, and first ore is expected to be produced from the crusher in 2021. More than 1000 jobs will be created throughout the construction phase. The final Brockman ore product will be sold to steel mills in China.
Rio has started advertising a variety of new job vacancies with many of them being permanent positions with fully funded relocation. They include:
- drill fitters (multiple positions)
- mechanical fitter
- specialist operational readiness – mining
- superintendent operational readiness – autonomous haulage systems and mining
- advisor operational readiness – autonomous haulage system
- specialist operational readiness – control systems
- specialist operational readiness – metallurgy
- advisor operational readiness – capability development
- advisor operational readiness – human resources and communication.
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“This significant investment in the Greater Tom Price hub is one of a pipeline of high-quality, low-cost options that will underpin production of our flagship Pilbara Blend product well into the future,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said in a public statement.