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The West Angeles iron ore open cut mine in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia is promoted by Rio Tinto as its “Mine of the Future' as it drills, blasts, breaks rock and drives haulage trucks by remote control from Perth rather than use local operators on site.

West Angelas Iron Ore Shipped out of Cape Lambert

Iron ore mined from the West Angelas operation is taken by rail to Cape Lambert where it is exported overseas as fines with a maximum size of 9.5mm. The workforce operate the mine on a fly-in-fly-out basis

Robe River Iron Associates own the West Angelas Mining Operation

The West Angelas Mine is located 110 kilometres north west of Newman in the iron ore rich Hamersley Range that contains 80 percent of Australia's reserves making it one of the world's biggest iron ore provinces. It is owned by Robe River Iron Associates, a mining company in which Rio Tinto have a 53 percent majority interest, Mitsui 33 percent, Nippon Steel 10.5 percent and Sumintomo Metal Industries 3.5 percent. Rio Tinto Iron Ore operate the mine on behalf of Robe River Iron Associates which is the fourth largest seaborne iron ore trader in the world.

Rio Tinto Commenced Mining in the Pilbara in 1966

Rio Tinto began mining iron ore in the Pilbara in 1966 and began working the West Angeles Mine in 2002. The West Angelas Mine produces over 29 million tonnes of iron ore annually which is all mined from open pit methods and processed on site before being taken to the coast at Cape Lambert by rail.

West Angeles Iron ore Becomes Part of the Pilbara Blend

The West Angelas Mine produces Marra Mamba iron ore as well as lumps and fines that are incorporated into the sought after Rio Tinto Pilbara Blend. The expansion of the West Angelas mine has seen continuous growth since 2002 that has required upgrading at the Cape Lambert port from its original 55 million tonnes a year capacity to 80 million tonnes a year. Cape Lambert is also ear marked as being the preferred site to help handle increased Pilbara iron ore production into the future that is estimated to eventually reach 320 million tonnes a year. Robe River mainly exports through medium and long term supply contracts with steel mills in Taiwan, South Korea, Europe, China and Japan.

West Angelas Remote Control Trials Being Expanded to Other Mine Sites

The remote control trial undertaken at the West Angelas mine had proved that successful Rio Tinto Iron have gone ahead and extended it to the Junction South East pit of the Yandicoogina Mine. Five of the remote controlled trucks were transferred from the West Angelas operation, where they had been used for dumping waste, to be utilised at the Yandicoogina Mine. All other trucks to be automated at Yandicoogina will be new vehicles. The five trucks transferred from the West Angelas Mine had collectively travelled 570,000 kilometres over 897 days of operating.

The vehicles which are remotely controlled from Perth are fitted with laser and radar systems, communications and GPS antennas. They are given data regarding their location along with the direction and speed of all unmanned and manned vehicles operating in the same pit. They automatically adjust their own speed based on the information they receive. The vehicles travel a defined route controlled by their GPS course that identify mine locations, intersections and haul roads along with crushers, stockpiles and loading areas.

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Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a major producer of iron ore, coal, bauxite, alumina, aluminium, uranium, copper, gold, diamonds, salt and energy across the globe. Businesses include open pit and underground mines, refineries, smelters, mills and power stations. Also a number of research facilities more


Rio Tinto
152-158 St George s Terrace
Perth, WA 6000



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