Rio Tinto unveils its Processing Centre of Excellence

Rio Tinto has unveiled the latest component of its Mine of the Future program – the Processing Centre of Excellence.

Based in Brisbane, Rio says this "is a world first, state-of-the-art facility that ehances monitoring and operational performance by examining in real time processing data from several Rio Tinto operations spread across the globe".

Known by some colloquially as 'the excellent centre for excellent excellence', it will be operated by a team in Brisbane, that will provide processing solutions and initiatives to mine sites in Mongolia (at Oyu Tolgoi), the US (at Kennecott), and across Australia (at five different sites).

A massive interactive screen while show, and analyse, technical data in real time, "allowing processing improvements ot be immediately introduced and operational performance to be optimised," the miner said in a statement.

Early trials have already led to improvements such as adjusting the flotation process for gold and copper recovery at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.

Speaking at the launch today, Rio CEO Sam Walsh said "the Processing Centre of Excellence (PEC) marks another important step in the rollout of our exciting Mine of the Future program".

Rio's head of innovation, John McGagh added that "this ground breaking facility allows us to focus on optimising minerals processing across a broad range of sites, anywhere in the world".

"We've been able to assemble a world-class team to work with live data and tackle improvements in processing.

"The PEC provides significant capability to the business by drawing on a global network of industry experts from operations, suppliers, and consultants.

Rio worked closely with JKTech, Schneider Electric, Metso CISA, iGATE, and the University of Queensland to develop the centre.

“The PEC is really pushing the boundaries of technology – in terms of communication architectures, virtual environments and remote connections. As a result, it has become a truly collaborative environment that centralizes many varied and complementary skills, leveraging the vast experience and expertise of its people, to work as one team delivering significant savings to Rio Tinto,”  Phil Barrett, Schneider Electric’s global account director for Rio Tinto,  said.

This latest centre follows on from Rio's opening of a new Centre for Emergent Technologies, in the UK late last year.

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