Austin Engineering has announced the delivery of its 1,000th truck body to Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia.
The milestone was marked with a ceremony at Austin’s Kewdale-based manufacturing facility, attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan (right), Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Officer, Simon Trott (centre), along with Austin’s Chairman, Jim Walker, and Chief Executive Officer, David Singleton (left).
The ULITMA truck body in question was unveiled on site today.
Over the past 30 years, Austin has supplied approximately A$300 million ($214 million) of its designed and engineered equipment to Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations. Austin also supplies equipment to Rio Tinto’s global operations from its manufacturing sites spread across four continents.
Austin and Rio Tinto’s partnership commenced in 1988 with Western Australia-based John’s Engineering and Cranes (JEC), which is now part of the Austin business, providing truck body components to Robe River, a Rio Tinto Group Company.
Austin’s Kewdale facility is one of two of the company’s major manufacturing sites in the Asia Pacific region. Austin is investing A$6.5 million to implement advanced manufacturing processes and capabilities at its Perth and Batam (Indonesia) sites, including increased automation and the use of custom jigs, fixtures, workstations and a standardised manufacturing approach to building products.
The Kewdale facility is currently receiving the first manufacturing upgrade, which will benefit major customers, such as Rio Tinto, and enhance the company’s supply of Western Australian-made dump truck bodies and other hauling and loading products, Austin said.
Singleton said: “In the dynamic and constantly evolving mining industry, it is becoming an increasing rarity to see a long-standing partnership, particularly one deeply rooted in the local community, going from strength-to-strength. This makes today’s milestone all the more extraordinary, and like the other 999 truck bodies we’ve made for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia, it will be manufactured locally.
“Austin is proud of its role in helping Rio Tinto successfully deliver the iron ore that is the economic lynchpin of our great state.”
McGowan said: “Austin Engineering is one of WA’s key local manufacturers. It is providing mining companies like Rio Tinto with locally designed and manufactured equipment, but it is also creating an increasing number of local job opportunities here at its Kewdale facility.
“Rio Tinto’s commitment to purchasing Western Australian made truck bodies, that will be used right here in the state, reflects the WA State Government’s commitment to boost local manufacturing, local content, and local jobs, enabling our State to become more self-sufficient and prosperous into the future.”
Rio’s Trott said: “The manufacture of the 1,000th truck body for our iron ore operations here in Western Australia is a testament to the Austin-Rio Tinto relationship that spans three decades and covers the globe.
“The partnership is an example of our commitment to working with local business to create ongoing employment and to develop world-class products. We are committed to sourcing local content wherever possible to support our suppliers, our business and the communities in which we operate. I look forward to our longstanding partnership continuing to support the Western Australian economy.”