Rio Tinto's Growth & Innovation (G&I) group creates value, working together in close partnership with Rio Tinto's product groups, in a number of ways. G&I discovers new mining areas through exploration. It executes major projects such as the construction of new mines and the implementation of productivity improvements. And G&I uses its technical capabilities to optimise operations throughout the entire life cycle of our mines and assets.
Rio Tinto's Mine of the Future™ programme is supported by Japanese technologies and ideas. Our Autonomous Haulage System was developed in partnership with a Japanese company and we have adopted "Kaizen", the Japanese business approach of continuous improvement. Rio Tinto also has Japanese business partners in exploration projects such as our bauxite exploration project in Laos.
Find out more about our Growth & Innovation group
Mine of the Future™
Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future™ programme was launched in 2008. Its objective: to introduce next-generation technologies for our mining operations – and achieve greater efficiency, lower production costs, and improved health, safety and environmental performance.
Iron Ore Operational Control Centre, Perth
We have formed partnerships with leading external organisations – including universities and equipment producers – who offer complementary skills to ours, and are helping drive our Mine of the Future™ programme. Through these alliances, we work with some of the world’s leading experts in areas like automation and mineral processing.
Japanese technology is a key element of the programme. In 2008, we began trialling our Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) trucks, developed though our partnership with Komatsu Ltd. We officially deployed AHS in our Pilbara iron ore operations in 2012. Today, we operate the world’s largest fleet of autonomous trucks. We are also rolling out our fully autonomous heavy-haul, long-distance AutoHaul® railway system, with technology provided by Hitachi Ltd.’s Ansaldo STS.
AutoHaul® railway system
Other Mine of the Future™ projects include the development of block cave mining and rapid tunnel technologies that allow us to extract ore from large orebodies without having to dig an open pit at the surface.
And from our Operations Centre in Perth, we remotely oversee our network of 16 mines, 1,700km of railway, four port terminals and two power plants, all some 1,500km away in the Pilbara – greater than the distance between Sapporo and Kumamoto.