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Rio Tinto plans AUD 260 million rail spend as AutoHaul project moves forward

Logistic News - Published on Thu, 07 Dec 2017

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Rail Journal reported that global mining company Rio Tinto provided updates on progress with its AutoHaul driverless train project and plans for upcoming capital expenditure on its heavy-haul iron-ore rail network in the Pilbara region at an investor seminar in Sydney on December 4. The company says it expects to spend around AUD 260 million in 2018 on capital improvements to support rail productivity with the aim of increasing rail capacity to exceed that of its port and mines, creating extra sprint capacity in the supply chain.

Mine and port capacity is currently running at 360 million tonnes per annum, although company export guidance for 2018 is within a range of 330- 340 million tonnes of iron-ore, which reflects a continued focus on rail.

Mr Chris Salisbury, chief executive of Rio Tinto's Iron Ore group, told investors that three key factors are driving rail capacity - the number of trains; the tonnage per train; and the rate at which the trains can cycle through the chain.

Mr Salisbury said that “As we test the need for more trains and extra volume per car, we are refocusing our maintenance campaign. This includes better predictive ability from instrumented ore-cars and track-monitoring equipment, and adding more efficient integrated track machines to our maintenance fleet. We are also looking at improving train headways - our current train spacing is around 16km - with an aim through study work to push that below the 10km mark.”

He said that AutoHaul is making strong progress and is expected to deliver a real step change in the productivity of rail operations and safety.

He added that “More than one million kilometres have now been completed in autonomous mode this year - with a driver monitoring the system - which equates to around 60% of all production kilometres. A further 20% of kilometres have been completed in a driver assist AutoHaul mode, which prompts the driver on improved driving techniques.”

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Thu, 07 Dec 2017
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