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Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill is on its way to becoming the world’s biggest autonomous mine.

The major miner has announced that its entire trucking fleet of 96 conventional haul trucks will move to a driverless operation.

This is an increase from the 77 trucks originally set to be converted to running autonomously.

Rinehart and her executives have travelled overseas to meet with autonomous operators over the past three years, choosing to recommend global mining equipment and solutions provider Epiroc and automation specialist ASI Mining to the Roy Hill Board.

The partnership has led to what is said to be a world-first autonomous haul truck solution that is interoperable and scalable, regardless of truck manufacturer.

Roy Hill said some converted haul trucks were running around the clock in a dedicated autonomous operating zone and interacting safely with two excavators and numerous ancillary vehicles at intersections, waste dumps and load areas.

Roy Hill chief executive Gerhard Veldsman said the miner would offer re-skilling programs and new roles to its truck drivers.

“Today you may be a truckie, tomorrow you might be an apprentice or ship loader operator, as we continue to build the best mining company in Australia,” he said.

“As we grow and expand our operations over the next few years, we are going to need lots of people and different skill sets to run our operations.

“This is an example of Roy Hill using innovative solutions to meet the challenges of an extremely tight labour market, while supporting our people with retraining and helping them transition into other critical roles of the business.”

The project’s progressive expansion will see autonomous haul truck numbers grow steadily from March and throughout 2023.

“Our executive  chairman, Mrs Gina Rinehart, and our owners Hancock Prospecting, Marubeni, POSCO and China Steel Corporation, have supported Roy Hill’s Smart Mine automation journey from the start with their continued commitment to our people and the safe productivity offered by Roy Hill’s Smart Mine vision,” Veldsman said.

“Our people are critical to our success and for Roy Hill, the Smart Mine pathway is all about creating a workplace that sets our people up for success, now and in the future.”