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Rio Tinto’s first intelligent mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia will deliver safety improvements to the mine site, incorporating the latest in high-tech advances in the industry.
The company said the next generation technologies will improve health, safety and environmental performance. It will achieve all that while delivering greater efficiency and lowering production costs.
Known as the Koodaideri iron ore project, the intelligent mine will utilise an increased level of automation and robotics.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said, “We’ve been building mines in the Pilbara for over 50 years, and, subject to final approvals, Koodaideri will incorporate all of that knowledge to enable us to build the smartest, safest and most efficient mine we’ve ever constructed.
“The deployment of leading edge technology will deliver a step-change in both safety and productivity for our business.”
The Koodaideri project was designed to replace existing production and become a new production hub for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara for decades to come.
Rio will commence the initial work by the end of the year. The company has committed $146 million of funding for this, ahead of a final investment decision.
The funds will be invested in detailed engineering work on key elements of the project, the development of a rail construction camp and the first stage of the Koodaideri accommodation camp.
The mine would create over 2,000 jobs during constructions — up from 1600 jobs predicted in May — and 600 permanent operational roles.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, with first production expected in 2021.