Koodaideri sets tech­no­log­i­cal bench­mark


RIO Tinto has ap­proved its $3.5 bil­lion Koodaideri iron ore mine in WA that is set to be its most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced op­er­a­tion to date.

Con­struc­tion was set to be­gin in 2019, and once com­plete, the mine would have an an­nual ca­pac­ity of 43 mil­lion tonnes - un­der­pin­ning pro­duc­tion of the Pil­bara Blend, Rio Tinto’s flag­ship iron ore prod­uct.

The op­er­a­tion had been de­signed to utilise an in­creased level of au­toma­tion and digi­ti­sa­tion which Rio Tinto ex­pected would sig­nif­i­cantly en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity, safety and main­te­nance of the new mine.

“Koodaideri is a game-changer,” Rio Tinto chief ex­ec­u­tive Jean-Sébastien Jac­ques said.

“It will be the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced mine we have ever built and sets a new bench­mark for the in­dus­try in terms of the adop­tion of au­toma­tion and the use of data to en­hance safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

The site would fea­ture tech­nol­ogy al­ready in use across Rio Tinto, such as au­ton­o­mous trucks, trains and drills, and im­ple­ment sys­tems con­nect­ing all com­po­nents of the min­ing value chain for the first time.

In­no­va­tions in­cluded a dig­i­tal replica of the pro­cess­ing plant, ac­ces­si­ble in real time by work­ers in the field; fully in­te­grated mine au­toma­tion and sim­u­la­tion sys­tems; ad­vanced au­toma­tion, in­clud­ing an au­to­mated work­shop; and nu­mer­ous data an­a­lyt­ics ca­pa­bil­i­ties and con­trol loops to op­ti­mise pro­duc­tion and re­duce down­time.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Sal­is­bury said the pro­ject would be a sig­nif­i­cant leap for­ward for the global min­ing in­dus­try.

“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,” Mr Sal­is­bury said.

“The de­ploy­ment of lead­ing edge tech­nol­ogy will de­liver a step-change in both safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity for our busi­ness.”

Rio Tinto ex­pected to em­ploy more than 2000 peo­ple through­out con­struc­tion, with 600 per­ma­nent roles cre­ated once the mine was op­er­a­tional in 2021.

The miner had also poured $44 mil­lion into a pre-fea­si­bil­ity study for Koodaideri Phase 2, which would in­crease an­nual ca­pac­ity to 70 mil­lion tonnes and be­yond.

Koodaideri re­mained sub­ject to WA Govern­ment ap­proval.

Im­age:RioTinto. Pho­tog­ra­phy:Chris­tianSpro­goe.

Rio Tinto au­ton­o­mous haulage trucks, West An­ge­las mi­ne­site.

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