A Pilbara mine has been successfully trialling autonomous trucks for the past six months, with plans now in place to further build on the use of this technology.
Rio Tinto and Scania launched new trials on Scania’s 40-tonne-payload autonomous mining trucks in April 2022 and quickly reached a key milestone of driverless operation in a simulated load and haul cycle environment.
The two companies have established a long-term research and development collaboration agreement for the continuous advancement of this autonomous technology, under which Rio Tinto’s Channar mine has become the first active partner site for Scania’s autonomous mining solution.
The partnership also includes options for the future transition to electric-powered vehicles.
“Rio Tinto is excited to partner with Scania to develop a mining solution which will create optionality across our diverse portfolio. Collaboration and partnership is key to reimagining mining in the future,” said Rio Tinto group technical managing director Santi Pal.
“Our climate action plan includes phasing out the purchase of new diesel haul trucks by 2030, and partnering with industry leaders, such as Scania, across a range of fields, is an important step towards achieving that. As well as the potential decarbonisation benefits, this partnership provides a path to potential productivity improvements.”
In utilising Scania’s autonomous mining trucks, energy requirements, mining footprint and infrastructure requirements can be reduced, meaning that capital and operating expenses may also be reduced at suitable sites.
Scania vice president and head of autonomous solutions Peter Hafmar added, “With its dedication to achieving cleaner, more energy-efficient operations, Rio Tinto is the ideal partner and first customer for Scania as we seek to put mining on a pathway to net zero emissions. This is a major step towards the goals of a sustainable autonomous mining solution, and builds on our already fruitful long-term collaboration.”
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