LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / October 4, 2017 / Pro-Trader Daily looks at the latest corporate events and news making the headlines for Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO), following which we have published a free report that can be viewed by signing up at http://protraderdaily.com/optin/?symbol=RIO. The Company announced on October 02, 2017, that it has successfully completed the first fully autonomous rail journey at its iron core operations in the Pilbara region, Western Australia as it moves towards full commissioning of the AutoHaul project in H2 2018. The 100-kilometer pilot run was executed without a driver on board, making it the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia. The journey was being closely monitored by the Company teams and the National Rail Safety Regulator, both from the Operations Centre in Perth and the ground unit. For immediate access to our complimentary reports, including today's coverage, register for free now at:
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According to Rio Tinto, the pilot run from Wombat Junction to Paraburdoo being successful, is a significant step towards the induction of AutoHaul in 2018, subject to all relevant safety and acceptance criteria are met. The Company plans to operate the world's first full-autonomous heavy haul, long-distance rail network, which would unleash safety and productivity benefits for its business. Rio Tinto stated that it has already realized the gains from AutoHaul including reduced variability and increased speed across the network, hence enabling reduced average cycle times.
The AutoHaul project is aimed at automating trains that are crucial to transport the iron ore to Company's port facilities. Currently, about 50% of pooled fleet rail kilometers are completed in autonomous mode, with drivers on board, while 90% of pooled fleet production tonnes are AutoHaul enhanced. The Company currently operates over 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 kilometers of track in the Pilbara, transporting iron ore from 16 mines to the Company's four port terminals.
Company Growth Prospects
On September 01, 2017, Rio Tinto completed the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Coal & Allied Industries Limited to Yancoal Australia Limited. Rio Tinto stated that it would receive a total consideration of $2.69 billion for the sale, which was comprised of $2.45 billion in cash, paid on the day of closure, while an additional $240 million would be paid on the basis of unconditionally guaranteed royalty payments.
The first royalty payment of $10 million was made on September 01, 2017, and an additional $100 million would be received by the end of the year, Rio Tinto stated. Another $90 million was expected to be paid before the end of 2018. Under the terms of the sale, Rio Tinto would also receive an additional royalty linked to coal prices and was capped at $410 million.
Post the announcement, on September 21, 2017, Rio Tinto announced an additional $2.5 billion share buy-back program to return the proceeds of the sale of Coal & Allied to its shareholders. The capital return programme, according to the announcement, would be executed through a combination of an off-market buy-back tender, targeting $560 million of Rio shares, with the balance $1.9 billion of additional funds would be allocated to the Company's existing on-market purchases of Rio Tinto plc shares. This announcement brought the total share buy-backs announced by the Company during 2017 to $4 billion, comprising $2.5 billion, and the $500 million and $1 million share buy-back programmes announced on February 08, 2017, and August 02, 2017, respectively.
Last Close Stock Review
On Tuesday, October 03, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $48.39, slightly up 0.96% from its previous closing price of $47.93. A total volume of 2.23 million shares have exchanged hands. Rio Tinto's stock price soared 11.78% in the last three months, 17.94% in the past six months, and 44.19% in the previous twelve months. Furthermore, since the start of the year, shares of the Company have rallied 25.82%. The stock is trading at a PE ratio of 14.11 and has a dividend yield of 4.55%. At Tuesday's closing price, the stock's net capitalization stands at $86.45 billion.
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