Rio Tinto partners with Caterpillar to help develop zero-emissions autonomous trucks


Rio Tinto has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Caterpillar to support Caterpillar’s development of zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks for use at one of its Western Australian mining operations.

Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will work with Caterpillar to advance the development of the company’s future 220-tonne 793 zero-emissions autonomous haul truck including the validation of Caterpillar’s emerging zero-emissions technology.

Rio plants to deploy about 35 new Caterpillar 793 zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks at Gudai-Darri – its most technically advanced iron ore mine in the Pilbara – once development is complete.

The site will also boast the world’s first fully autonomous water trucks, which will also be produced by Caterpillar, as part of a project announced earlier this year.

Rio Tinto’s Chief Commercial Officer Alf Barrios said the two parties would progress a series of development milestones to include a 793 prototype pilot program, testing and pre-production trials.

“Our ambition to reach net zero emissions across our operations is a priority. Reaching this ambition will require new and innovative solutions and partnerships with supplier partners like Caterpillar. This collaboration represents a small but important step on that journey,” Mr Barrios continued.

“We look forward to working together to validate these zero-emissions haul trucks in just a few years’ time. The advanced technology at Gudai-Darri puts it at the forefront of new mining operations globally and we look forward to adding Caterpillar zero-emissions haul trucks to the site.”

Caterpillar Group President Denise Johnson added, “The integration of autonomy with a zero-emissions fleet demonstrates Rio Tinto’s commitment to reach net zero emissions.

“By leveraging these technologies across their sites, Rio Tinto can more safely increase productivity, efficiency and be more sustainable. We are pleased to be part of Rio Tinto’s sustainability journey and look forward to building on our long-standing collaboration.”

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