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.
Rio Tinto autonomous haulage trucks, West Angelas minesite.