Technology & Innovation
Technology is an increasingly important success factor in the mining and minerals industry. Improvements in technology can change the way that we look at mineral deposits, make our operations safer, help us manage costs and respond to environmental imperatives.
Rio Tinto’s Technology & Innovation (T&I) group focuses on creating sustainable value and competitive advantage by making improvements to the way we operate. T&I partners with the business and external partners to provide technical insights into how we run our operations and deliver our projects.
T&I employs approximately 600 people. To help us achieve our goals, we’re also working with some of the best minds in the world of academia, through partnerships with leading institutions such as the University of Sydney and Imperial College London.
T&I maintains a culture that treats safety and safety improvements as a core value, like integrity, respect, teamwork, and accountability. We are also developing ways to improve our environmental performance through more efficient ways of mining and processing, and to create new, more highly-specialised, career options for our people.
Launched in 2008, the Rio Tinto Mine of the Future™ programme is not a single mine site but how we plan to change the face of mining with step change improvements in productivity and efficiency.
We are now rolling out a number of technological advancements across our operations to meet the three key themes of the programme:
- Autonomy – to achieve massive efficiency in surface bulk mining
- Recovery – to increase efficiency by sorting waste before it gets to process plants
- Tunnelling – to access deep orebodies faster
While Rio Tinto takes a partnership approach to innovation, our advances are tightly guarded. Rio Tinto has a centralised team of intellectual property specialists who use a rigorous process to ensure appropriate management and security of trade secrets, patents, trademarks and copyrights.
T&I is dedicated to identifying value creation opportunities across our operations, and delivering improvements across the mining value chain, from ore reserves to shipping and marketing.
We continually seek ways to improve our operations. We review and revise our processes regularly, and we update them to be more efficient, more value-adding, and more cost-effective. When an operation does something well, we look for ways to replicate that work across the Group.
Rio Tinto has a centralised projects group that is responsible for safely developing and delivering capital projects in partnership with global business units.
This group includes two project delivery hubs that are responsible for the development and execution of major capital projects, and an independent Project Management Office which provides the governance, processes, standards, systems and tools to achieve repeatable success across all major capital and plant projects.
Providing technical insights isn’t just about developing new technologies. It’s also about ensuring that our investment decisions are thoroughly reviewed and technically sound.
For all capital allocation decisions Rio Tinto has a rigorous process, supported by a team of T&I technical experts who provide independent assessments of all major project proposals, acquisitions or divestments.
Technical assurance is also part of a governance process that ensures we are complying with laws and standards and reporting to our shareholders and other stakeholders in a responsible way.