Collaborating Authors

Senate committee considers EV boost to Australian health and mining


The public inquiry into the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia has heard that the mining sector and the health of Australians would benefit if there were more of them in the market. During the inquiry's second hearing on Friday in Canberra, Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Pilbara Metals Group, and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) gave evidence to the committee. In a report produced by the AMEC, it was estimated that the lithium value chain -- which includes raw materials through to cells and battery packs -- could increase from $165 billion to $2 trillion by 2025 if more EVs were to be introduced down under. The chief executive of AMEC Warren Pearce said that rather than just exporting lithium, Australia should also focus on processing the minerals and manufacturing electric vehicle batteries, according to the ABC. AMEC says that Western Australia alone mines 60 percent of the world's supply of lithium used for the production of EV batteries.

Landmark VR film reveals Indigenous encounter with atomic bomb testing


Imagine witnessing the atomic tests that were performed in outback Australia in the '50s. A landmark new virtual reality film is allowing you to do just that -- from the perspective of a man with no prior contact with the western world. Collisions is the tale of Nyarri Nyarri Morgan, a revered elder of the Martu people from the remote Pilbara desert of Western Australia. He invited acclaimed artist Lynette Wallworth to help tell his story and now, people from all over the country can receive his message with the help of immersive technology. It's a reimagining of the moment a young Morgan, walking through the desert, first encounters European technology -- one of two major ground-level nuclear tests performed at Maralinga, in South Australia.

Rio Tinto achieves first autonomous train iron ore delivery


Rio Tino's autonomous train has completed its first delivery of iron ore in Western Australia's Pilbara. The train, consisting of three locomotives and described by Rio Tinto as "the world's largest robot", travelled over 280km from the company's mining operations in Tom Price to the port of Cape Lambert on Tuesday, July 10. The train was remotely monitored by Rio Tinto's Operations Centre in Perth more than 1,500km away. The locomotives are equipped with AutoHaul software and are fitted with on-board cameras for monitoring from the centre. "We will continue to ensure our autonomous trains operate safely under the wide range of conditions we experience in the Pilbara, where we record more than 8 million kilometres of train travel each year," said Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director for Rail, Port and Core Services.

World's Largest Robot Hauls Ore Through Western Australia

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

It's often the case that the more useful a robot is, the less exciting it is. The robots that do the hardest jobs tend to be straightforward solutions to straightforward problems, because that's what works. The (self-declared) world's largest robot is an efficient, grubby example of this--it's an autonomous train that recently hauled 28,000 metric tons of iron ore 280 kilometers across the Australian desert. Australia is a big place, and it takes a lot of effort to get material out of the middle of Australia (where it's not useful) to the coast (where it can be taken somewhere that it is). Trains are the most efficient way of doing this, and they travel back and forth through a whole lot of nothing, taking ore from mine to port and bringing the empty cars back again.

Dawn of the Robo-train: Autonomous railway is the largest robot in the world

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The world's largest robot has been unveiled and it is a completely autonomous railway system. AutoHaul has been developed by a mining firm and is being used to transport iron ore from mines to shipping ports 500 miles away (800 km) in Western Australia. This journey can be completed in just 40 hours, including the loading and dumping of the ferrous cargo. Its deployment is the end result of a project which has so far cost $940 million (£740 million). Rio Tinto, the corporation that built the infrastructure and hardware for the locomotive, says this could be the first step in transforming the firm's 1,000-mile (1,700-kilometre) network connecting 16 iron ore mines and two ports.