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Rio Tinto, Hancock open new mine at Hope Downs iron ore JV

Rio Tinto and Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd. unveiled a new mine at their 50/50 Hope Downs joint venture in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Developing the Baby Hope deposit will help sustain existing capacity at the Hope Downs 1 operation, the company said Oct. 5.

The joint venture partners also approved an investment in greater automation to drive productivity and improve safety.

Twenty-eight haul trucks at the Hope Downs 1 mine will be retrofitted with autonomous haulage system technology, and three production drills at the Hope Downs 4 mine will be retrofitted with autonomous drilling system technology by 2020.

The technology will make haulage and drilling operations safer and will boost productivity through a higher fleet utilization rate.

Rio Tinto and its partners recently approved an investment of US$1.55 billion to sustain production capacity at the Robe River joint venture in the Pilbara region.