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Thomas the Tank Engine lobotomised by fat (remote) controller

rh587 Silver badge

I'm sure they've done the math, but that seems like it would be a hell expensive project to save on a small number of staff.

Eh, this mining is an expensive lark - I had a school friend who went out and did a few years as a Mining Engineer. The town his son was born in doesn't exist anymore - mine arrives, they build out, dig for 10 years and abandon it.

Every meat sack needs somewhere to sleep, eat and do their business. You have to ship food out to the arse end of nowhere and deal with waste. You have to air-condition the buildings, etc, etc.

The fewer people the better - these places are so remote that the best analogy is to an aircraft carrier/naval vessel.

Each job you can automate eliminates a bunk, a seat in the mess, reduces the requirements for waste-disposal systems, reduces the size of the food stores, eliminates a life-raft seat. Fewer crew reduces the number of galley cooks needed, which in itself churns back into reduced bunks/heads/food rations.

The savings form a positive-feedback loop that scales quite rapidly past the actual salary and training costs for the crew.

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