Under the agreement, Rio Tinto and Caterpillar will work together to create an automated mine operation that makes best use of data analytics and integration to enhance safety, optimise production, boost mining machine utilisation and lower costs.
Chris Salisbury, chief executive at Rio Tinto Iron Ore, said: "We're pleased to be partnering with Caterpillar and WesTrac, the regional Cat dealer, to help make Koodaideri the most technology-enabled and innovative mine in our Pilbara iron ore network.
"Technology is rapidly changing our mining operations as we harness innovation to make our operations safer, smarter and more productive. This extension of our partnership with Caterpillar and WesTrac represents an exciting step for our business."
Denise Johnson, group president, resource industries at Caterpillar, commented: "The Caterpillar team is looking forward to working with Rio Tinto to apply our proven mining equipment and technology and to implement additional MineStar autonomy solutions at Koodaideri - a new mine designed to capitalise on leading-edge technology. We are excited to work together to advance Rio Tinto's mine automation and digitalisation programme."
Koodaideri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto's iron ore business in the Pilbara. Construction work has commenced, and first production is expected in late 2021. Once complete, the mine will have a capacity of 43Mt/y, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio Tinto's flagship iron ore product.
As mine construction advances, WesTrac will manage logistics of mining machine delivery and commissioning and will play a key role in implementing technology solutions. Jarvas Croome, chief executive officer of WesTrac, said: "WesTrac is excited to be part of the Koodaideri project and to work with Caterpillar to deliver ground-breaking equipment solutions to support Rio Tinto's Mine of the Future vision."