Rio Tinto: Mine of the Future
Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future™ is no ordinary mine strategy. In fact, it's like nothing the mining world has ever seen. Unveiled in 2008, the futuristic program aims to change the face of mining through the use of autonomous equipment and technology only witnessed in science-fiction films.
The Mine of the Future™, however, is no sci-fi fantasy film.
Rio Tinto is putting the finishing touches on a group-wide initiative that involves next-generation technology and big-data utilization which will ultimately alter mining operations forever.
The goal behind the Mine of the Future™ isn’t necessarily to build one autonomous mine but rather a holistic approach to find new ways to mine and extract minerals more efficiently, while also reducing environmental impact and improving safety.
“Focusing on two key themes – achieving efficiency in surface mining through autonomy and improving recovery practices – the Mine of the Future™ program is aimed at mining safer, better and faster,” says Andrew Harding, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s iron ore division.
The Mine of the Future™ program develops step-change technologies, which include: a centralized operations center for remotely managing operations, autonomous truck haulage, autonomous train operations (AutoHaul™) and autonomous drilling.
The company, which first unleashed its autonomous vehicles in 2008, currently has 54 autonomous trucks operating across three Rio Tinto mine sites in Western Australia.
“We commenced trials in December 2008 at West Angeles and in June 2011, five autonomous haulage trucks were moved from West Angeles operations to Yandicoogina mining operations and combined with five new trucks,” says Harding.
“In July 2012 the autonomous fleet reached a milestone of hauling high grade iron ore at the Yandicoogina mine.”
Rio Tinto launched its operation center in 2009, quickly progressing to autonomous drilling and its revolutionary rail system trials in 2012. Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul™ system is expected to be up and running in 2015.
Newmont acquires Canada’s GT Gold in $325mn deal
Newmont, the world’s biggest gold miner, has acquired Canada’s GT Gold in a deal worth $325mn. The gold giant now controls the Tatogga gold-copper project in the Traditional Territory of the Tahltan Nation.
“With the acquisition of GT Gold and the Tatogga project in the highly sought-after Golden Triangle district of British Columbia, Canada, Newmont continues to strengthen our world-class portfolio,” commented Newmont President and CEO Tom Palmer.
“We look forward to continuing to build a respectful and meaningful relationship with the Tahltan Nation, including the community of Iskut. The relationships we have with Indigenous communities, First Nations and host communities are critical to the way we operate. We will partner with the Tahltan Nation at all levels, and with the Government of British Columbia to ensure a shared path forward as the Company understands and acknowledges that Tahltan consent is necessary for advancing the Tatogga project.”
Newmont’s acquisition includes the Tatogga project, comprised primarily of the Saddle North deposit, which has the potential to contribute future significant gold and copper annual production. There are also further exploration opportunities beyond the known deposits at Saddle North within the land package. The Tatogga project adds to Newmont’s existing interest in the prospective Golden Triangle through the company’s 50% ownership in the Galore Creek project.
Newmont is the world’s leading gold company and a producer of copper, silver, zinc and lead. A world-class portfolio of assets, prospects and talent is anchored in favourable mining jurisdictions in North America, South America, Australia and Africa. The American miner is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.
With gold prices on the rise, the last six months has seen gold industry M&A activity accelerating. A recent Mckinsey report, advises that the industry need to be mindful of mistakes made during the previous gold price boom, when growth was chased unidirectionally by several companies.