Shanghai city

Our Business

Rio Tinto is a mining and metals company operating in around 35 countries around the world. Our purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress.

Our four product groups bring this purpose to life: Aluminium, Copper, Minerals and Iron Ore. These are complemented by our Safety, Technical and Projects, Strategy & Development, and Commercial groups, as well as our service and support functions.

 Business Structure

  • Iron Ore
  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Minerals
  • Commercial

Iron Ore

We are one of the world’s leading producers of iron ore. We operate an integrated portfolio of iron ore assets: a network of 16 iron ore mines, four port terminals, a 1,700-kilometre rail network and related infrastructure in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Insights from data help us to explore and extract our iron ore efficiently. Our Operations Centre in Perth uses next-generation technologies, including artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, to run operations in real-time and respond quickly to changes. Our AutoHaul™ train system is the first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network – the world’s largest robot.

Each of these elements works together to deliver high-quality iron ore, including our flagship Pilbara Blend™, to our customers reliably and safely.

Our three operations at Dampier Salt, in Western Australia, are also part of our Iron Ore business.

Operations

  • 16 integrated mines in Western Australia
  • 5 iron ore products
  • 4 port terminals
  • 3 solar salt operations

Aluminium

We are a global leader in aluminium, with a large-scale, vertically-integrated business: bauxite mines and alumina refineries as well as smelters producing aluminium certified as responsible.

Managing the process from start to finish allows us to bring quality products to our customers reliably and efficiently: from high-grade bauxite for the global seaborne trade to sustainably sourced aluminium for beverage packaging to new, lighter alloys for the automotive industry.

Our Canadian operations average in the first decile of the industry cost-curve and produce aluminium using clean, renewable hydropower. Since its upgrade in 2015, our Kitimat smelter in British Columbia has produced twice as much aluminium with half the emissions. And, the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of our managed Atlantic Operations smelters represents less than one-fifth of the industry average.

Operations

  • 4 bauxite mines in Australia, Brazil and Guinea
  • 4 alumina refineries in Australia, Brazil and Canada
  • 14 aluminium smelters in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Oman
  • 22 sites certified responsible by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI)
  • 7 hydropower plants in Canada supplying 100% of the electricity we use there
  • 3 research and development centres in Canada, France and Australia

Copper

Copper is essential to the transition to a low-carbon future as it plays a key role in electrification and power generation, including in renewable energy and electric vehicles. Our operations span the globe, from Mongolia to Chile to the US, and occupy various stages of the mining lifecycle – from exploration to rehabilitation. Our Kennecott mine and the Oyu Tolgoi mine were the world’s first to be awarded the Copper Mark, verifying their copper is responsibly produced.

Global demand for copper is set to grow, driven by urbanisation, industrialisation and increasing requirements for renewable energy: copper plays a key role in electrification and power production. For example, a wind turbine capable of generating a megawatt of power – enough to supply several hundred homes – needs more than three tonnes of copper.

Operations

  • 3 copper operations in the US, Mongolia and Chile
  • 3 copper growth projects in the US and Mongolia and Australia
  • 2 operations awarded the Copper Mark, verifying copper from Kennecott and Oyu Tolgoi is responsibly produced

Minerals

Our Minerals product group provides materials essential to a wide variety of industries, ranging from agriculture to renewable energy and electric vehicles. We produce high-grade low impurity iron ore pellets and concentrate, titanium dioxide and borates from our operations in Africa, Canada and the US. We contribute to Rio Tinto’s sustainable growth by unlocking value from our high-grade orebodies and developing new materials. By giving a second life to mining waste with by-products, we are expanding our frontiers for the increasing demand for critical minerals.

Minerals also includes our fully integrated diamonds exploration, mining and sales and marketing business. We provide a reliable supply of white and coloured diamonds – including the renowned Argyle pink diamonds, the world's most sought-after diamonds – mined to the highest possible ethical and environmental standards. As a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, we support responsible and ethical social and environmental practices throughout the jewellery supply chain. We are also members of the World Diamond Council and the Natural Diamond Council which uphold the reputation of diamond miners as careful custodians of these natural treasures.

Operations

  • 7 mining sites
  • 6 countries
  • 5 sectors:
    • Borates
    • Diamonds
    • Iron ore concentrate & pellets
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Uranium

Commercial

Our Commercial group encompasses our global sales and marketing, procurement, and marine and logistics operations. By harnessing the skills, knowledge and insights we acquire from everything we buy, sell and move around the world, we focus on deepening customer and market insights, improving connections and accelerating decisions between our markets and assets and partnering with customers and suppliers to generate additional value.

Our value chain:

  • 9 portside sales facilities in China
  • 230 contracted and owned ships managed at any one time

What do we do?

  • 1. Explore & Evaluate
  • 2. Develop & Innovate
  • 3. Mine & Process
  • 4. Market & Deliver
  • 5. Repurpose & Renew

Explore & Evaluate

We use some of the most advanced exploration technologies in the world to find potential new sources of minerals and metals. We consider new commodities and products with an understanding of our customers' and communities' needs. We are also mindful of our potential future social and environmental impact as well as the diversity and balance of our portfolio.

 

Why exploring for Rio Tinto is “one of the best jobs in the world.”

Develop & Innovate

We assess each potential operation with a focus on risk, potential returns, and long-term sustainability and value. Once we have approved an investment, we design and build each operation, informed by input from those stakeholders most affected. We aim to develop every potential site to achieve optimal, long-term productivity while minimising risks.

We work in partnership with a growing network of stakeholders– governments, communities, customers and suppliers – who help expand our thinking, capabilities, and ultimately our ability to deliver mutual benefit.

 

Alex and David discuss the building of our new Amrun wharf.

Mine & Process

A safe site is a productive site, and advanced technologies are playing a more important role in how we achieve both. We share best practices across our assets to create safe, environmentally responsible working practices and a high-performing culture that targets production at lower costs.

At the same time, our operations aim to benefit local economies by contributing jobs, taxes and royalties, contracts with local businesses and social and community investment. We also supported the economic diversification of regions where we are based, in alignment with national and local government plans, ensuring host communities can thrive long after our operations close. Our ambition is for our operations to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

By understanding and respecting our business partners, employees, communities, and the environment, we can create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.

Market & Deliver

Our minerals and metals are essential to the transition to a low-carbon future and are used in a vast array of everyday products – from cars to coffee pods to smart phones. Our Commercial team ensure that we align products in line with market and customer needs. And our network of rail, ports and ships means that we can control end-to-end logistics to deliver our products safely, efficiently and reliably.

 

How does our story become yours?

Repurpose & Renew

We aim to design and run our assets to create a positive legacy once our mining activity concludes. We engage stakeholders of our sites nearing closure – including Indigenous peoples, government, employees and host communities – and actively involve them in planning.

Applying this approach could entail rehabilitating the land for a nature reserve, for example, or repurposing it for light industrial use. Each of our sites has rehabilitation plans that we review each year. We see this long-term approach – planning and operating with the future in mind – as integral to running a safe, responsible and profitable business.