With the use of driver-less vehicles seemingly inevitable, [Q19]mining companies in the vast Australian desert state of Western Australia are definitely taking the lead. Iron ore is a key ingredient in steel-making. The mining companies here produce almost 300 million tons of iron ore a year. The 240 giant autonomous trucks in use, in the Western Australian mines, can weigh 400 tons, fully loaded. And travel at speeds of up to sixty kilometers per hour. They are a technological leap, transporting iron ore along routes which run for hundreds of kilometers from mines to their destinations. Here when the truck arrives at its destination, staff in the operation center direct it precisely where to unload. Vast quantities of iron ore are then transported by autonomous trains to ocean ports. Advocates argue these automated vehicles will change mining forever. It may only be five years before the use of automation technology leads to a fully robotic mine. A range of factors has pushed Western Australia's desert region to the lead of this automation revolution. These include the huge size of the minds, the scale of equipment and the repetitive nature of some of the work. Then there's the area's remoteness, at 502,000 square kilometers. It can sometimes make recruiting staff a challenge. Another consideration is the risks when humans interact with large machinery. There are also the financial imperatives. The ongoing push by the mining corporations to be more productive and more efficient is another powerful driver in embracing automation technology. The concept of a fully autonomous mind is a bit of a misleading term, however. This is because the more technology is put into the field, the more people are needed to deploy, maintain and improve it. [Q20]The automation and digitization of the industry is creating a need for different jobs. These include data scientists and engineers in automation and artificial intelligence. The mining companies claim automation and robotics present opportunities to make mining more sustainable and safer. Employees will be offered a career that is even more fulfilling and more rewarding. [Q21Workers' union have accepted the inevitability of the introduction of new technology. But they still have reservations about the rise of automation technology. [Q21]Their main concern is the potential impact on remote communities. As automation spreads further, the question is how these remote communities will survive when the old jobs are eliminated? And this may well prove to be the most significant impact of robotic technology in many places around the world.
Question 19: What does the passage say about the mining industry in Western Australia?
Question 20: What is the impact of the digitization of the mining industry?
Question 21: What is the attitude of workers' union towards the introduction of new technology?