Rheem delivers sustainable hot water solution

Rheem delivers sustainable hot water solution
Located in Pilbara of Western Australia, Gudai-Darri is Rio Tinto’s first Greenfield mine in the region in more than a decade. Stretching across both Banjima and Yindjibarndi country, both Traditional Owners were engaged through the planning and development stages in Rio Tinto’s most technologically advanced iron ore mine yet. Gudai-Darri features the world’s first autonomous water carts, trucks, drills, and trains, as well as a robotic ore sampling laboratory and solar farm. Gudai-Darri has a 40-year mine life and will support thousands of jobs moving into the future.

Rio Tinto faced the challenge of providing a sustainable hot water solution for the site’s transit shower block, tasked with meeting the demands of 400 end-of-shift showers, totalling 24,000L of hot water. The project required reliability, energy efficiency and adaptability to the region’s limited energy infrastructure.

ASSDA Member Rheem Australia was engaged by SPP Group to work with Primero and Aussie Modular Solutions in delivering a solution tailored to meet these rigorous demands.


Rheem Commercial stepped in with a robust solution, supplying ten 35kW air-to-water heat pumps, nine 30kW electrical heating units, and nine large-volume storage tanks, each equipped with boost elements to deliver water at temperatures up to 65°C, all while maintaining energy efficiency. Available in vertical, horizontal, and stackable options, the heat pumps were oriented to best fit the space and reduce footprint. The hot water plant design was split into two, for male and female shower blocks.

To enhance safety measures, Rheem incorporated LAN cables into the plant solution design. These cables enable ground-level monitoring of the stacked heat pumps via the master heat pump at ground level, mitigating potential OH&S risks associated with working at heights.

Central to the design solution was the use of stainless steel storage tanks from Rheem’s RT series, selected for their unparalleled durability, corrosion resistance, and hygienic properties. The 3,000L grade 316L stainless steel storage tanks not only adhere to rigorous safety standards but also offer the flexibility and footprint efficiency necessary for large-scale projects like Gudai-Darri. WaterMark certified and conforming to AS3498 Safety and public health requirements for plumbing products – Water heaters and hot-water storage tanks, the tanks have a maximum working pressure of 850kPa and a thermal relief capacity of 900kW. Stainless steel’s ability to withstand harsh mining conditions, minimise maintenance needs, and ensure long-term water quality and reliability underscores its indispensable role in the hot water solution.

By integrating stainless steel storage tanks into the infrastructure, Rheem Commercial not only addressed the immediate needs of the Gudai-Darri mine but also laid the foundation for a sustainable and future-proof system that aligns with Rio Tinto’s commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.

This article was featured in Australian Stainless Magazine 80 (2024) and adapted from an article originally published by Rheem Australia.



Lissel Pilcher