East Perth, Australia
East Perth, Australia

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd is an Australian iron ore company. Fortescue is the fourth largest Iron ore producer in the world as of March 2011. The company has holdings of more than 87,000 km² in the Pilbara region of Western Australia making it the largest tenement holder in the state, larger than both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. Wikipedia.

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News Article | March 23, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

A night parrot has been photographed in Western Australia, adding another twist to the mysterious history of the species that was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in Queensland four years ago. It is the first verified sighting of the bird in WA for almost 100 years and follows a history of unverified sightings, disbelieved reports and futile ecological surveys that rivals the hunt for the (presumably still) extinct Thylacine in Tasmania. The discovery was made by a group of four friends from Broome who have dedicated the better part of seven years to locating the bird, examining detailed maps, trekking into likely habitats, and spending evenings in the state’s arid interior listening for unusual bird calls. This month, two days into a trip to an undisclosed location near a salt lake somewhere in inland WA, they heard “some really interesting calls”. “The calls to us were unfamiliar,” one of the group, Bruce Greatwich, told Guardian Australia. “We are quite experienced in these habitats so to hear something new was quite exciting.” The calls were different to those recorded in the Queensland night parrot population, described by researchers in 2005 as “a ‘ding-ding’ call similar to that of a bell miner” followed by “a short frog-like ‘grieet’,” but were enough to indicate the bird might be present. The next morning a night parrot darted out in front of one of the group, George Swann, while he was walking through spinifex looking for entirely different birds. It was green and yellow with black barred feathers. The common description is of a big, dumpy budgerigar, about the same size as a rainbow lorikeet. Swann, described by Greatwich as an “old-school birder”, called the others over. “We were able to go down and re-find it and we had our cameras at the ready to get a photo,” Greatwich said. Ordinarily, he added, they would never disturb a nocturnal bird in the daytime, “but in this instance we knew we had to get a photo”. “We were elated, as excited as you could be,” he said. “To have something happen that we have worked towards for a long time and lots of people have tried to achieve … we were clearly very, very excited.” Credit for the discovery is being shared between Swann, Greatwich, Adrian Boyle and Nigel Jackett. Boyle and Swann are expert consultants to Monash University organisation Research Ecology and Jackett is a warden at the Broome Bird Observatory. All four have experience working in the science and ecology fields but undertook the hunt for the parrot as a passion project, working the trip in around annual leave and family commitments. Greatwich rattles off acknowledgements like an Academy Award winner, thanking their families for indulging the obsession, fellow WA birdwatchers Neil Hamilton, Tegan Douglas and Aneta Creighton, and ornithologist John Young, who discovered the night parrot population in western Queensland. The known range of the parrot in Queensland, more than 2,000km away from WA, was expanded last year to include Diamantina national park in the states’s central west. “It has been many years in the making,” Greatwich said. “It’s very humbling.” The discovery could have a significant impact on mining development in parts of WA once presumed to be night parrot habitat. “This is irrefutable evidence,” Rohan Clarke, head of Research Ecology, said. “We know that night parrots do occur in Western Australia now. Mining companies, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Parks and Water … they will have to place a lot more import into reported sightings now or in the future when they are making an assessment around potential developments or habitat destruction in the area.” The night parrot group won’t say where they saw the bird, lest they be targeted by poachers, simply giving a broad description of “dry inland areas” that covers about a third of the state. The last recorded sightings of the parrot in WA was in the Pilbara in 1912, when the only known specimen for more than 100 years was collected. There was also a possible night parrot nest discovered in the Pilbara in 1971, and in 2005 Fortescue Metals Group was required to consider a night parrot management plan for its Pilbara Iron Ore Hub, a large mine located halfway between Pannawonica and Tom Price. Clarke said the evidence from Queensland, used by the WA parrot watchers to locate the bird, was that it nested in unburned spinifex, often alongside some kind of shelter, such as a salt lake, gypsum plain or rocky outcrop. That means there could be patches of viable night parrots habitat anywhere from inland WA across the southern Northern Territory and northern South Australia to Queensland and north-west New South Wales. It also suggests parrots are likely to be glued to a tiny pocket of habitat and are extremely vulnerable to localised habitat destruction, Clarke said. “It wouldn’t take much if there was a development in that area to have a significant impact,” he said.


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.mining-journal.com

Western Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest said the strength of the iron ore price was behind the record A$400 million (US$300 million) philanthropic donation he and his wife Nicola made this week. The pair announced the donation at a high-profile event in Canberra yesterday hosted by actor Russell Crowe and attended by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten. It is the largest ever donation by a living Australian, according to the Mindaroo Foundation, which the Forrests founded in 2001 to “give a hand up, not a hand out”. The donation will be used to fight cancer, support education and training initiatives, eliminate slavery and support arts, culture and community organisations. Forrest, who founded Fortescue Metals Group (AU:FMG) in 2003 and has a net worth circa US$4.2 billion according to Bloomberg, told reporters the couple had been fortunate to be able to accumulate capital then give it away “as soon as we could”. “We had a slightly unsustainable business model previously where we’d actually borrowed money to give it away and fortunately we don’t have to do that now, thanks to the strength of the iron ore sector,” he said. The Australian newspaper estimated the iron ore price rally had delivered Forrest a A$360 million (US$269 million) cash windfall in the past six months which he was putting towards charitable causes.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"Under the leadership of CEO Nev Power, Fortescue Metals Group has rapidly risen to become the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world in little over a decade. We congratulate Fortescue Metals Group on this impressive win," said Martin Fraenkel, President of S&P Global Platts. "Each of this year's winners and finalists deserves praise for their contributions to a more efficient, innovative and globalized industry that continues to rise to new challenges." Fortescue Metals Group won the 2017 Metals Company of the Year title as well as the Industry Leadership Award – Raw Materials & Mining. In reaching its decision, the Platts Global Metals Awards' independent judging panel lauded the company's "strong and clever" leadership. FMG, which won the Rising Star Company Award in 2014, was praised by the judges for "achieving ambitious goals and hitting targets" making the firm one of the industry's strongest and most resilient. The coveted CEO of the Year award went to Sanjeev Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty House Group, the U.K.-based steel producer. Judges were impressed by Gupta's track record of successful acquisitions and hailed him as a "motivator" willing to "swim against the tide of pessimism" prevalent in the industry. Gina Rinehart, Hancock Prospecting Group's Executive Chairman, secured this year's Lifetime Achievement Award, with judges lauding her as "a leader of substance" with a "pioneering drive". Her "bold and ambitious" move to secure $7.2bn in funding to develop the Roy Hill project, this year's Rising Star Company Award winner, was also applauded by the judges. Aqua Metals, the 2016 Rising Star Company Award winner, continued to impress the judges, this year scooping the Breakthrough Solution of Year for commercializing its AquaRefining technology, a room temperature, water-based process and non-polluting process to recycling lead-acid batteries. The judging panel was impressed by the firm's "strong growth potential" and "global scale". For full details of the 2017 winners of the Platts Global Metals Awards and the judges' rationale, visit S&P Global Platts' Insight Magazine and the judges' rationale. Following are the 2017 Platts Global Metals Awards winners: Deal of the Year China Molybdenum Co Ltd Financial Metals Service Provider of the Year Singapore Exchange For additional information, as well as the full list of finalists from which the winners were selected, see the Platts Global Metals Awards website (http://gma.platts.com/). For information on sponsors and other supporters of the 2017 Platts Global Metals Awards visit: http://gma.platts.com/AboutSponsor. Nominations for next year's Platts Global Metals Awards will be accepted starting December 2017. S&P Global Platts will hold its sister awards gala, the 19th annual Platts Global Energy Awards  on December 7, 2017, in New York City at Cipriani – Wall Street. At S&P Global Platts, we provide the insights; you make better informed trading and business decisions with confidence. We're the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets. Customers in over 150 countries look to our expertise in news, pricing and analytics to deliver greater transparency and efficiency to markets. S&P Global Platts coverage includes oil and gas, power, petrochemicals, metals, agriculture and shipping. S&P Global Platts is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI), which provides essential intelligence for individuals, companies and governments to make decisions with confidence. For more information, visit www.platts.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fortescue-metals-group-wins-metals-company-of-the-year-platts-global-metals-awards-300460456.html


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.mining-journal.com

Fortescue Metals Group (AU:FMG) is battling record iron ore stockpiles in China and steelmakers looking for higher-grade ore as it races to beat Beijing-enforced mill shutdowns, but the company is consistently paying off debt and making shareholders smile with profits and dividends.


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.mining-journal.com

Yet another sign of miners’ fortunes improving is those at the top creeping up rich lists. Improving iron ore and share prices saw Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Ivan Glasenberg double or almost double the dollar value of their wealth in just a year, according to the Australian Financial Review’s 2017 rich list. Three of the top 10 from the Australian Financial Review’s 2017 rich list were miners. Gina Rinehart moved up one spot to third richest in Australia, with an A$10.4 billion (US$7.7 billion) fortune, while Ivan Glasenberg ($6.85 billion) and Andrew Forrest ($6.84 billion) moved up three spots to fifth and sixth respectively. Last year, Rinehart was worth $6.06 billion and the other two $3.33 billion each, according to the AFR. Lang Hancock’s daughter, whose company Hancock Prospecting is private, will have benefited from the early-year peaks in the iron ore market. In the past year she has invested $400 million into Sirius Minerals’ (LN:SXX) massive polyhalite project in Yorkshire and upped production at the 70%-owned Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara. Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (AU:FMG) has more than doubled its share price ($3 per share to over $7/sh) since early last year, although some of the gains have fallen off in recent weeks. Glasenberg’s Glencore  (LN:GLEN) has done the same but held on to the gains, going from $2.30/sh to $5/sh year-on-year. South African-born and Switzerland-based Glasenberg is an Australian citizen. These miners are joined in the top 10 by a man important to the story of Australian iron ore: property investor Stan Perron lent Lang Hancock £500 in 1959 for his fledgling exploration company with Peter Wright. Perron hasn’t done badly out of the deal; one of his terms for the loan was 15% of any royalties from the Pilbara prospects mapped out by the duo. In the 12 months to July 2016, that earned him $27 million.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

This report studies Magnet in Global market, especially in North America, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and India, focuses on top manufacturers in global market, with capacity, production, price, revenue and market share for each manufacturer, covering Market Segment by Regions, this report splits Global into several key Regions, with production, consumption, revenue, market share and growth rate of Magnet in these regions, from 2011 to 2021 (forecast), like Split by product type, with production, revenue, price, market share and growth rate of each type, can be divided into Primarily hematite Magnetite Others Split by application, this report focuses on consumption, market share and growth rate of Magnet in each application, can be divided into Iron and steel Medication Others Global Magnet Market Research Report 2016 1 Magnet Market Overview 1.1 Product Overview and Scope of Magnet 1.2 Magnet Segment by Type 1.2.1 Global Production Market Share of Magnet by Type in 2015 1.2.2 Primarily hematite 1.2.3 Magnetite 1.2.4 Others 1.3 Magnet Segment by Application 1.3.1 Magnet Consumption Market Share by Application in 2015 1.3.2 Iron and steel 1.3.3 Medication 1.3.4 Others 1.4 Magnet Market by Region 1.4.1 North America Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.4.2 Europe Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.4.3 China Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.4.4 Japan Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.4.5 Southeast Asia Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.4.6 India Status and Prospect (2011-2021) 1.5 Global Market Size (Value) of Magnet (2011-2021) 7 Global Magnet Manufacturers Profiles/Analysis 7.1 Atlas Iron Limited 7.1.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.1.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.1.2.1 Type I 7.1.2.2 Type II 7.1.3 Atlas Iron Limited Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.1.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.2 Fortescue Metals Group Ltd 7.2.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.2.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.2.2.1 Type I 7.2.2.2 Type II 7.2.3 Fortescue Metals Group Ltd Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.2.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.3 BHP Billiton 7.3.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.3.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.3.2.1 Type I 7.3.2.2 Type II 7.3.3 BHP Billiton Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.3.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.4 Rio Tinto 7.4.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.4.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.4.2.1 Type I 7.4.2.2 Type II 7.4.3 Rio Tinto Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.4.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.5 Vale 7.5.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.5.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.5.2.1 Type I 7.5.2.2 Type II 7.5.3 Vale Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.5.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.6 Cliffs Natural Resources 7.6.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.6.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.6.2.1 Type I 7.6.2.2 Type II 7.6.3 Cliffs Natural Resources Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.6.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.7 Iron Ore Company 7.7.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.7.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.7.2.1 Type I 7.7.2.2 Type II 7.7.3 Iron Ore Company Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.7.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.8 Labrador Iron Mines 7.8.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.8.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.8.2.1 Type I 7.8.2.2 Type II 7.8.3 Labrador Iron Mines Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.8.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.9 Champion Minerals 7.9.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.9.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.9.2.1 Type I 7.9.2.2 Type II 7.9.3 Champion Minerals Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.9.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.10 Cap-Ex Ventures 7.10.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Its Competitors 7.10.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 7.10.2.1 Type I 7.10.2.2 Type II 7.10.3 Cap-Ex Ventures Magnet Capacity, Production, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2015 and 2016) 7.10.4 Main Business/Business Overview 7.11 Sundance Resources 7.12 Sinosteel For more information, please visit https://www.wiseguyreports.com/sample-request/540627-global-rare-earth-magnet-industry-2016-market-research-report


This report studies sales (consumption) of Magnet in United States market, focuses on the top players, with sales, price, revenue and market share for each player, covering Atlas Iron Limited Fortescue Metals Group Ltd BHP Billiton Rio Tinto Vale Cliffs Natural Resources Iron Ore Company Labrador Iron Mines Champion Minerals Cap-Ex Ventures Sundance Resources Sinosteel … View Full Report With Complete TOC, List Of Figure and Table: http://globalqyresearch.com/united-states-magnet-market-report-2016 Split by product types, with sales, revenue, price, market share and growth rate of each type, can be divided into Primarily hematite Magnetite Others Split by applications, this report focuses on sales, market share and growth rate of Magnet in each application, can be divided into Iron and steel Medication Others United States Magnet Market Report 2016 1 Magnet Overview 1.1 Product Overview and Scope of Magnet 1.2 Classification of Magnet 1.2.11 Primarily hematite 1.2.12 Magnetite 1.2.13 Others 1.3 Application of Magnet 1.3.11 Iron and steel 1.3.12 Medication 1.3.13 Others 1.4 United States Market Size Sales (Value) and Revenue (Volume) of Magnet (2011-2021) 1.4.1 United States Magnet Sales and Growth Rate (2011-2021) 1.4.2 United States Magnet Revenue and Growth Rate (2011-2021) 5 United States Magnet Manufacturers Profiles/Analysis 5.1 Atlas Iron Limited 5.1.1 Company Basic Information, Manufacturing Base and Competitors 5.1.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.1.2.1 Type I 5.1.2.2 Type II 5.1.3 Atlas Iron Limited Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.1.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.2 Fortescue Metals Group Ltd 5.2.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.2.2.1 Type I 5.2.2.2 Type II 5.2.3 Fortescue Metals Group Ltd Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.2.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.3 BHP Billiton 5.3.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.3.2.1 Type I 5.3.2.2 Type II 5.3.3 BHP Billiton Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.3.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.4 Rio Tinto 5.4.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.4.2.1 Type I 5.4.2.2 Type II 5.4.3 Rio Tinto Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.4.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.5 Vale 5.5.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.5.2.1 Type I 5.5.2.2 Type II 5.5.3 Vale Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.5.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.6 Cliffs Natural Resources 5.6.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.6.2.1 Type I 5.6.2.2 Type II 5.6.3 Cliffs Natural Resources Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.6.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.7 Iron Ore Company 5.7.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.7.2.1 Type I 5.7.2.2 Type II 5.7.3 Iron Ore Company Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.7.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.8 Labrador Iron Mines 5.8.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.8.2.1 Type I 5.8.2.2 Type II 5.8.3 Labrador Iron Mines Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.8.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.9 Champion Minerals 5.9.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.9.2.1 Type I 5.9.2.2 Type II 5.9.3 Champion Minerals Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.9.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.10 Cap-Ex Ventures 5.10.2 Magnet Product Type, Application and Specification 5.10.2.1 Type I 5.10.2.2 Type II 5.10.3 Cap-Ex Ventures Magnet Sales, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin (2011-2016) 5.10.4 Main Business/Business Overview 5.11 Sundance Resources 5.12 Sinosteel … Global QYResearch ( http://globalqyresearch.com/ ) is the one spot destination for all your research needs. Global QYResearch holds the repository of quality research reports from numerous publishers across the globe. Our inventory of research reports caters to various industry verticals including Healthcare, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Technology and Media, Chemicals, Materials, Energy, Heavy Industry, etc. With the complete information about the publishers and the industries they cater to for developing market research reports, we help our clients in making purchase decision by understanding their requirements and suggesting best possible collection matching their needs.


News Article | January 31, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Category 2 cyclone Stan made landfall some 120 km (75 miles) north east of the world’s largest iron ore export hub, Port Hedland, in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said. The cyclone is just one of the severe weather events Australia experienced during the weekend, with several weather fronts hitting the nation. One man was killed after being swept away by floodwaters overnight in southern Queensland, state police said on Sunday. In New South Wales a mini-tornado destroyed several homes while roads were flooded and power cut in several regions. In Tasmania, some 80 wild fires have been burning mostly in the west of the island state since lightening struck on January 13, destroying more than 72,000 hectares of bushland, including 1,000-year-old trees in World Heritage listed forests. In Tasmania’s east, communities were warned to brace for further flooding on Sunday as heavy rainfall was forecast. While inland communities in Western Australia's Pilbara remained on red alert as Cyclone Stan tracked southeast and weakened on Sunday, port authorities in Dampier and Port Hedland, through which almost half the world’s seaborne iron ore is shipped, were readying to reopen following their closure on Friday, a ports spokeswoman told Reuters. More than 37.5 million tonnes of iron ore was shipped from Port Hedland in December, latest figures show, with the bulk of it heading for steel mills in China. BHP Billiton Ltd., which evacuated workers from its port operations, said in a statement that any impact to production or sales will be reported in its next operational review. Smaller miner Fortescue Metals Group, said in a statement during the shutdown on Saturday that there was no change to the company’s shipping guidance, which takes the weather impact of cyclones into account, this financial year. Cyclone Stan is the first of the season which usually runs for six months from Nov. 1.


News Article | November 23, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's environmental authorities on Wednesday cleared the way for the world's No. 4 iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group to extend operations at a key mine site for another 35 years.


News Article | December 28, 2016
Site: www.technologyreview.com

Mining companies are rolling out autonomous trucks, drills, and trains, which will boost efficiency but also reduce the need for human employees. Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board. Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia’s Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas, the vehicles work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs. The company is also upgrading the locomotives that haul ore hundreds of miles to port—the upgrades will allow the trains to drive themselves, and be loaded and unloaded automatically. Rio Tinto intends its automated operations in Australia to preview a more efficient future for all of its mines—one that will also reduce the need for human miners. The rising capabilities and falling costs of robotics technology are allowing mining and oil companies to reimagine the dirty, dangerous business of getting resources out of the ground. BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, is also deploying driverless trucks and drills on iron ore mines in Australia. Suncor, Canada’s largest oil company, has begun testing driverless trucks on oil sands fields in Alberta. “In the last couple of years we can just do so much more in terms of the sophistication of automation,” says Herman Herman, director of the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. The center helped Caterpillar develop its autonomous haul truck. Mining company Fortescue Metals Group is putting them to work in its own iron ore mines. Herman says the technology can be deployed sooner for mining than other applications, such as transportation on public roads. “It’s easier to deploy because these environments are already highly regulated,” he says. Rio Tinto uses driverless trucks provided by Japan’s Komatsu. They find their way around using precision GPS and look out for obstacles using radar and laser sensors. Rob Atkinson, who leads productivity efforts at Rio Tinto, says the fleet and other automation projects are already paying off. The company’s driverless trucks have proven to be roughly 15 percent cheaper to run than vehicles with humans behind the wheel, says Atkinson—a significant saving since haulage is by far a mine’s largest operational cost. “We’re going to continue as aggressively as possible down this path,” he says. Trucks that drive themselves can spend more time working because software doesn’t need to stop for shift changes or bathroom breaks. They are also more predictable in how they do things like pull up for loading. “All those places where you could lose a few seconds or minutes by not being consistent add up,” says Atkinson. They also improve safety, he says. The driverless locomotives, due to be tested extensively next year and fully deployed by 2018, are expected to bring similar benefits. Atkinson also anticipates savings on train maintenance, because software can be more predictable and gentle than any human in how it uses brakes and other controls. Diggers and bulldozers could be next to be automated. Herman at CMU expects all large mining companies to widen their use of automation in the coming years as robotics continues to improve. The recent, sizeable investments by auto and tech companies in driverless cars will help accelerate improvements in the price and performance of the sensors, software, and other technologies needed. Herman says many mining companies are well placed to expand automation rapidly, because they have already invested in centralized control systems that use software to coördinate and monitor their equipment. Rio Tinto, for example, gave the job of overseeing its autonomous trucks to staff at the company’s control center in Perth, 750 miles to the south. The center already plans train movements and in the future will shift from sending orders to people to directing driverless locomotives. Atkinson of Rio Tinto acknowledges that just like earlier technologies that boosted efficiency, those changes will tend to reduce staffing levels, even if some new jobs are created servicing and managing autonomous machines. “It’s something that we’ve got to carefully manage, but it’s a reality of modern day life,” he says. “We will remain a very significant employer.”

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