Rio Tinto tech and innovation head departs

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Rio Tinto tech and innovation head departs

Replacement found from within.

Rio Tinto will have a new head of technology and innovation from next year, after the mining giant announced the retirement of Preston Chiaro.

The company has found a replacement from within the ranks of its technology and innovation (T&I) group - Greg Lilleyman, who has been the company's head of productivity improvement in T&I since August this year, will take on the role.

Lilleyman is best known as the former president of Rio Tinto's technology-rich Pilbara operations, home to the company's Mine of the Future program encompassing autonomous trucks and drills that are remotely controlled from an operations centre in Perth.

Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh said Lilleyman's new role as technology and innovation group executive would see him in charge of ensuring the miner "remains at the forefront of developing and deploying sector leading technologies that change the way we look at mineral deposits".

The group's use of technology is also about making operations safer, managing costs and reducing environmental impact, Walsh said.

Chiaro has led the technology and innovation group since 2009. He has been at Rio Tinto since 1991.

Chiaro used last year's investor day in London to talk up the impact of technology on Rio Tinto's operations, such as maximising payloads of haul trucks and real-time monitoring systems to aid predictive equipment maintenance.

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