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Mining giant Rio Tinto has been approved by the Australian Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to operate the world’s first heavy haul, long distance autonomous rail operation for it's ironore operatioin in Western Australia. $RIO says AutoHaul will improve safety, productivity and lower costs.

rio tinto auto haul train

 

$RIO has been benefiting from the rebound in prices of coal, copper, aluminum and iron ore. CEO Jacques is upbeat on the world economy, despite recent volatility in global markets with China's economy looked good in the medium to long term and highlighted robust growth across most major markets. 

Rio operates around 200 locomotives on over 1,700 km of track in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. $RIO said that the FY 2018 shipment guidance is  330M-340M metric tons. Rio implemented autonomous trains at its Pilbara operations in the first quarter of 2017. At this time 65% of the all train kilometers are completed in autonomous mode, that is over 3 million kilometers. Rio’s AutoHaul project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. Once commissioned, the network will be the world’s first heavy haul, long distance autonomous rail operation.

rio tinto iron ore mine

China to keep pushing demand for Rio iron ore

Why Iron Ore Prices Are Bid

For the premium iron ore companies the impetus comes from a number of sources.

1. China is making large inroads to clean air reform, to the point they have now a shortage of coal. With iron ore the higher quality gra,des are being sought. The highest grades of iron ore come via BHP Billiton $BHP and Rio Tinto $RIO

2. Sebastian Pinera won the Presidential election in Chile which is seen as a positive for miners with his more conservative policy. $Vale, $RIO and $BHP have exposure to Chile.

3. Investment banks have been pushing clients into commodities and talking up China drawing speculative money to the sector. Goldman was just the latest Freeport-Moran $FCX also rallied with copper and Chile positives. 

4. With the move to commodities there has been a bottoming of the Australain dollar which has seen those dolalrs being put to work in the ASX with mining leaders like $BHP and $RIO.

5. The bullish mania that has gripped stocks in America with the tax bill which will see corporate tax fall to 21% in 2018 with the passage of the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Source: Rio Tinto

From a Sunburnt Country...

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