Empowering employees with intelligent tools at there “mine of the future”, improving safety, productivity, energy consumption and environmental impact
- Rio Tinto¹ is one of the largest mining and metals companies, with revenues of $47 billion, and has over 66,000 employees across 40 countries.
- Established in 2008, Rio Tinto’s “mine of the future” programme aims to equip frontline employees with intelligent tools that allow them to make decisions that improve performance based on contextual knowledge.
- Rio Tinto has the world’s largest fleet of autonomous trucks to deliver loads more efficiently, minimizing delays and fuel use. The trucks are controlled remotely by operators who exert more control over their environment and ensure greater operational safety.
- Rio Tinto rely on people and computers working together, one augmenting the other, rather than viewing human and machine as mutually exclusive sources of knowledge.
- Rio Tinto take the view that technological developments will lead to certain jobs being replaced but other new positions being created.
- They admit that skilled people will always be needed to oversee autonomous systems, noting that changing technology provides employees the chance to develop and better use their skills in new work environments.
- Rio Tinto empowers its workers to operate more effectively on the ground – software interprets complex datasets and creates a user-friendly.
- 3D display of a mine that is easily and quickly understood by pit controllers, geologists, drill-and-blast teams, mine planners and supervisors. It allows the company to make informed decisions while working remotely from the machines.
- Rio Tinto aims to safely reduce maintenance costs by about $200 million per annum over the next three years (2015-2018).
- Rio Tinto has focused on creating a pipeline of technological innovations since 2007 through alliances with partners in business, industry, science and academia, e.g. IGAT, Imperial College London.
- The company established an operations centre where, from one site more than 400 operators analyse data and synchronize an integrated system in real time, managing 15 mines, 31 pits, four port terminals and a 1,600km connecting rail network leading to increased efficiency, reliability and lower variability.
Rio Tinto is one of more than 100 case studies identified as part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries initiative. An overview of the DTI program can be found here.
1. Sources: Rio Tinto, Mining Weekly, WEF/Accenture Analysis