Rio Tinto has quietly started a substantial build-up of resources to ensure its rail network is ready for automation and other planned expansion projects.
The iron ore giant listed four jobs online between October 22 and 23 that effectively build a team around what the firm is calling "rail operational readiness".
Though some readiness projects are not specifically related to technology, the reporting line for the planned readiness portfolio office runs through "the general manager AutoHaul", according to one of the advertisements.
AutoHaul is a driverless train project that aims to be operational in 2014. It comes under Rio Tinto's Mine of the Future programme, which also covers automated trucks, drills and a remote operations centre.
Rio Tinto is seeking a portfolio office manager to "develop, implement and maintain systems, tools and governance for the rail operational readiness portfolio".
"The expansion of the rail network incorporates a complex portfolio of projects including upgrades to track, rolling stock, maintenance infrastructure and technology," one of the advertisements noted.
"The Rail Division must integrate expansion projects into the business safely, productively and sustainably.
"Achieving these outcomes requires a robust and rigorous approach to operational readiness."
Rio Tinto's rail network links 14 mines and three export ports.