Rio Tinto announces new Centre for Emergent Technologies

Rio Tinto has opened a new $10.8 million technology (£6 million) centre focused on “the next generation of innovative technologies for the mining industry”.

The miner, in a partnership with the University of Nottingham, has agreed to a five year partnership focused on developing new technology.

The Centre opened last week and is a new hub for excellence which will develop world-changing technologies to address issues related to energy efficiency, waste reduction, capital productivity, extension of resource life and process and operator safety,” Rio Tintosaid in a company statement.

Last month Rio also announced a partnership with Chinalco to develop new mining technology.

According to Rio “the parties aim to draw on their respective strengths to expedite the development of new mining technology and further develop Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program”.

At the announcement of the partnership, Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh said “by matching Chinalco’s resources and intellectual horsepower with the experience and the diverse portfolio of ideas developed by Rio Tinto, we can create something of real value for both groups that exceeds what either one of us could do alone”.

In a Rio Tinto statement, it said “the aim is to develop and deploy leading-edge technology to create safer working operations, improve environmental performance and increase the productivity of mining operations.

The new centre and partnership with Nottingham University is part of Rio’s wider Mine of the Future program.

Engineers and Nottingham will be mainly focused on the energy costs associated with crushing and grinding operations and separating ores based on the individual rock types, ensuring increased recovery.

Professor Sam Kingman, Research Director of the Rio Tinto Centre for Emergent Technologies, said “this truly multi-disciplinary partnership with Rio Tinto will enable the delivery of significant tangible outputs that have the potential to provide a step change in the performance and productivity of Rio Tinto’s operations”.

“It will also provide a real focus for our activities here at the University of Nottingham through provision of a clear pathway to deliver quantifiable impact from our research.”

Preston Chiaro, Rio’s Group Executive, Technology and Innovation added that “the partnership with the University of Nottingham will ensure that Rio Tinto can solve some of the key technical challenges facing mining in the future”.

“Our aim is to always work with the best research groups in the world, and Nottingham is an obvious partner.”

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