Rio Tinto Looking at Driverless Trains for Pilbara

Rio Tinto is now thinking of moving its ore transportation to driverless trains. The mining giant has lined up an investment of $518 million for such trains. It does cast a shadow on the future of its current 500 plus train drivers in the Pilbara region.

The “Mine of the Future” initiative by Rio Tinto is now looking to develop these robotic futuristic trains within the next three years. The objective of the initiative is to automate all the mining operation systems so that they can be controlled from a remote center which could be many kms away. It is hoped that the automation process will help the mines become more efficient and less dependent on skilled labor.

The shortage of trained mining workers has played a large role in the setting up of the automated initiative by the multinational mining giant. As per current forecasts the mining industry in Western Australia is likely to face a shortage of nearly 30,000 workers within the next year and half.

However the plan to have 41 automated trains in Western Australia to haul iron ore to the port is going to put the mining company in path of a confrontation with the unions. As 500 drivers who currently drive the trains from Pilbara to the ports of Cape Lambert and Dampier will be facing unemployment as a consequence of the initiative.

Iron Ore head of Rio Tinto, Sam Walsh, has said that they could be consulting the drivers and seek to find new roles for them in the business. Rio Tinto has also decided to deploy 150 driverless trucks in the Pilbara region which will be controlled from a control center in Perth.

Joel Scanlon

Written by

Joel Scanlon

Joel emigrated to Australia in 1995 and worked for five years in the mining industry as an exploration geotechnician, using GIS mapping and CAD software. Upon moving to the North Coast of NSW, Australia Joel worked as a graphic designer for a leading consultancy firm. After that, he ran a successful business providing web services to businesses along the eastern seaboard of Australia. During this time, he developed and launched News-Medical.Net. Joel has been working with AZoNetwork since the company was founded in 2000.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Rio Tinto plc. (2019, March 19). Rio Tinto Looking at Driverless Trains for Pilbara. AZoMining. Retrieved on October 01, 2022 from https://www.azomining.com/News.aspx?newsID=6002.

  • MLA

    Rio Tinto plc. "Rio Tinto Looking at Driverless Trains for Pilbara". AZoMining. 01 October 2022. <https://www.azomining.com/News.aspx?newsID=6002>.

  • Chicago

    Rio Tinto plc. "Rio Tinto Looking at Driverless Trains for Pilbara". AZoMining. https://www.azomining.com/News.aspx?newsID=6002. (accessed October 01, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Rio Tinto plc. 2019. Rio Tinto Looking at Driverless Trains for Pilbara. AZoMining, viewed 01 October 2022, https://www.azomining.com/News.aspx?newsID=6002.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit