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World first $940M mining infrastructure project fully operational

RioTinto AutoHaul train
RioTinto AutoHaul train

A resources giant celebrating the full operation at its $940 million mining infrastructure project in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto has confirmed its AutoHaul Rail Technology Program is now fully operating across 1700 km rail network in WA’s Pilbara region.

The new 2.4 km-long vehicles are tasked with delivering iron ore from 16 Rio mines to ports in Dampier and Cape Lambert without any human staff on board.

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World’s first automated heavy haul rail

Each train is monitored from Rio’s operation centre at Perth Airport through on-board cameras that live stream all movement.

Partners Hitachi-Ansaldo STS, Calibre, New York Air Brake and GE Wabtec helped make the world’s first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network possible. AutoHaul’s software is now completely deployed and the trains have already travelled more than 3 million km automatically.

More than 47,500 staff worked on the project according to Rio.

“AutoHaul has brought the rail freight industry in this country into the 21st century and is rightfully the subject of global interest,” State Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said in a public statement. “The development of the world’s biggest robot is such a success because of the contribution from Western Australia’s skilled engineers and innovative workers.”

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