Looking further afield to solve mining challenges

Rio Tinto's Craig Stegman

Australian miners should consider collaborating with other industries for critical innovations if they are not already, according to Craig Stegman, Rio Tinto vice president, operational and technical support, copper and diamonds.

In an interview ahead of his appearance at the Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative Conference in May, Stegman discussed Rio Tinto’s attitude towards digital innovation and about how mining, equipment, technology and service (METS) firms can take advantage.

Stegman said Australian miners would do well to look at research and development being carried out in other industries to find innovative solutions to operational challenges.

Rio Tinto has previously engaged with industries in the automotive, aeronautical, energy, biomedical and IT industries.

“Australian miners may find opportunities by aligning themselves towards non-mining industries to gain additional insights to solve challenges,” Stegman said.

“These industries support rich and vibrant innovation cultures that are focused on emerging trends relevant to the mining industry, and they seem to be able to move very quickly.”

Stegman will present in the Securing our Competitive Future through Continual Innovation session alongside Vanessa Guthrie, chair of the Minerals Council of Australia presenting Driving Innovation for Business Gain – An Industry Perspective; and Barry Fitzgerald, CEO of Roy Hill Mine presenting Roy Hill: Aligning Innovation with the Business.

Stegman’s topic, Innovation in the Copper Industry – Necessity and Opportunity will provide a fascinating insight into how mining firms with critical challenges can collaborate internally and externally to develop solutions.

He said Rio Tinto always had time to listen to promising new ideas but also actively sought out promising solutions.

“We have an open-door policy on new ideas pitches,” he said.

“The interaction with original equipment manufacturers and suppliers is quite healthy when we have people and industries communicating. They share their concepts, and we can talk about our technical issues.”

Stegman’s team recently traveled to MINExpo in Las Vegas and came away from the convention with at least 10 high-quality ideas to develop exclusively or in partnership with suppliers. It’s also why he accepted the invite to present at Austmine 2017.

The Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative conference will be held from May 22-24 at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre.

It is Australia’s premier conference for showcasing the best technological innovations in the resource industries.

For further information and to purchase conference passes, visit austmineconference.com.au.

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