Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in Western Australia owe their origins to the Japanese steel mills, which underwrote their development in the 1960s. Today, Rio Tinto’s network in the Pilbara region includes 16 iron ore mines – of which three belong to a joint venture with Japanese partners: Robe River.
In July 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, together with then-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made an unprecedented visit to Rio Tinto’s West Angelas iron ore mine, one of the Robe River operations.
The two Prime Ministers toured the operations and met with employees. They also inspected Rio Tinto’s world-leading mining technology, with state-of-the-art equipment from Japan at its core. On display were an autonomous haul truck developed with Komatsu Ltd., which forms part of the Mine of the Future™ programme; tyres and conveyer belts from Bridgestone; an excavator from Hitachi Construction Machinery; and the light vehicle fleet from Toyota.
Prime Minister Abe addresses the gathering at West Angelas on how iron ore from Australia has supported Japan’s economic growth
The visit built on 50 years of successful and longstanding partnership between Rio Tinto and Japanese joint venture partners, suppliers, customers and friends. Rio Tinto is committed to continuing to build on these relationships through technology and other partnerships to deliver mutual benefits.