Rio Tinto boosts driverless truck fleet to 150 under Mine of the FutureTM programme

Download pdf here


Rio Tinto is to become the owner of the world’s largest fleet of driverless trucks after it signed a deal to buy at least 150 from Komatsu Limited over the next four years.

The new trucks, which will start arriving in 2012, will be used in Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia and can be controlled from its Operations Centre in Perth more than 1500km away. The move signals a 15-fold expansion from its previous plan to double the fleet to 10 trucks.

This is the latest development in Rio Tinto’s Mine of the FutureTM programme, which introduces next-generation technologies for mining operations with the aim of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving health, safety and environmental performance.

Implementing autonomous haulage on this scale means more material can be moved more quickly and safely, creating a direct increase in productivity.

In Tokyo Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese and Komatsu Limited president and chief executive officer Kunio Noji, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the supply and purchase of the trucks. Also present at the signing ceremony were Rio Tinto Iron Ore President Pilbara Operations Greg Lilleyman and senior executives from both companies.

Mr Albanese said “This announcement further reinforces our longstanding alliance with Komatsu. We have been partnering with Komatsu, using their advanced truck technology at our mines, for almost 20 years.

“Autonomous haulage is an important component in our Mine of the FutureTM programme. These 150 new trucks will work with our pioneering Operations Centre that integrates and manages the logistics of 14 mines, three ports and two railways. These technologies are revolutionising the way large-scale mining is done, creating attractive hi-tech jobs, and helping us to improve safety and environmental performance and reduce carbon emissions.”

Mr Noji said “Komatsu is extremely excited to sign the MOU with Rio Tinto to expand the fleet to at least 150 Komatsu Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) trucks in their Western Australian Pilbara operations by the end of 2015.

“Komatsu and Rio Tinto are global partners and have developed a strong alliance throughout the years.

“We are confident that our leading-edge AHS Technology will accelerate Rio Tinto’s Mine of the FutureTM objectives through improving safety and mine operations."

Rio Tinto has been testing the Komatsu Autonomous Haulage System, the world's first commercial autonomous mining haulage system, in the Pilbara since December 2008. During the trials the AHS technology demonstrated benefits in health, safety and productivity.

Elsewhere in its Mine of the FutureTM programme, Rio Tinto will begin more widespread deployment of its
automated drills, both in the Pilbara and at coal and copper mines.

Photographs of the MOU signing and of the autonomous trucks are available on request. Please email

About Komatsu

Komatsu, founded in 1921, has established a solid leading international market position in the areas of construction and mining equipment as well as industrial machinery.

By upholding “Quality and Reliability” as the most important management policy, Komatsu is resolutely committed to providing safe, innovative products and services that best meet the needs and expectations of its customers around the world.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.


Media Relations, EMEA / Americas
Illtud Harri
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1152
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 503 600

Tony Shaffer
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003

Christina Mills
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1154
Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 275 605

Media Relations, Australia / Asia
David Luff
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3620
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 850 205

Karen Halbert
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3627
Mobile: +61 (0) 412 119 389

Bruce Tobin
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3612
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 103 454

Media Relations, Canada
Bryan Tucker
Office: +1 (0) 514 848 8151
Mobile: +1 (0) 514 825 8319

Investor Relations, London
Mark Shannon
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1178
Mobile: +44 (0) 7917 576 597

David Ovington
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 2051
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 010 978

Investor Relations, North America
Jason Combes
Office: +1 (0) 801 204 2919
Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645

Investor Relations, Australia
Dave Skinner
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3628
Mobile: +61 (0) 408 335 309

Christopher Maitland
Office +61 (0) 3 9283 3063
Mobile +61 (0) 459 800 131

Further information:

If you have been forwarded this email, you may wish to click here to signup for our media releases directly.

Follow us on Twitter