Rio Will Invest $518 Million in Driverless Iron Ore Trains

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second- biggest iron ore exporter, will spend $518 million on the first driverless long-distance trains to haul the commodity from its Western Australia mines to ports, boosting efficiency.

The first automated train, part of the London-based company’s push into remote-controlled mining technology, is scheduled to run in 2014, Rio said in a statement. The company already operates five driverless iron ore haulage trucks at one of its Pilbara operations.

Rio, which runs a 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) rail network from mines to ports in Western Australia’s Pilbara region with 41 train sets and about 500 train drivers, will replace almost all trains with automated services, Greg Lilleyman, president of the Pilbara iron ore operations, told reporters in Perth

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