The Gudai-Darri mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara has officially opened. The iron ore mine is owned by Rio Tinto and has a capacity of 43 million tonnes per annum. It is the company’s most technologically advanced iron ore mine in the region.
The mine hosts some of the most advanced equipment including a robotic ore sampling laboratory which provides visibility of the ore grades out of the mine within minutes.
The Rio Tinto mine also utilises autonomous trucks, trains and drills.
The life expectancy of the Gudai-Darri mine is 40 years. Rio Tinto is also building a 34-megawatt solar farm consisting of 83,000 solar panels. The solar farm will be completed in August 2022 and power one-third of the mine’s electricity needs.
Rio Tinto is also said to be working on plans to develop a one gigwatt solar and wind power operation in the Pilbara. This farm would potentially be up to 7 times bigger than Western Australia’s largest solar farm.
The project would support thousands of jobs in the future and help boost the economy.
“Western Australia offers a stable investment environment – we have a strong economy, highly-skilled workforce, and world-class mineral resources backed by industry-leading mining and logistics infrastructure. This means our state is well-placed for the future,” he said.
Present at the opening ceremony along with representatives of Pilbara Traditional Owners, the Banjima People, Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston said Rio Tinto’s innovation and sustainability was a prototype of the mine of the future.
“Once the new solar farm is complete, it will be able to power one-third of Gudai-Darri’s operational needs with renewable energy. This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tonnes a year, which is the same amount produced by 6000 Australian homes each year,” he said.