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Miners Are Relying More on Robots. Now They Need Workers to Operate Them.


At the Gudai-Darri mine, truck drivers and drill operators are being supplanted by autonomous fleet operators, data scientists, and systems engineers.

Credit: Rhiannon Hoyle/The Wall Street Journal

Rio Tinto's Gudai-Darri mine in the remote Pilbara region of western Australia is the world's second-biggest mining company's most technologically advanced, and the company has found it difficult to staff.

Iron ore is hauled on preplanned routes by almost two dozen driverless carts, with autonomous water carts used to control dust.

There are robots moving samples in the on-site laboratory, and ore is being exported to customers in Asia via a driverless train.

The company has about 600 workers at the Gudai-Darri mine, and over 70 at a control center nearly 1,000 miles away in Perth, but it struggles to find workers for hundreds of unfilled roles in the region.

From The Wall Street Journal
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