Rio Tinto bolsters core of growth & innovation unit

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Rio Tinto bolsters core of growth & innovation unit

Global asset capability to largely call Australia home.

Rio Tinto has started building out the core asset management function of its nascent growth & innovation (G&I) group that was created in a restructure mid last year.

The miner has, over the past week, revealed that much of the strategy, process, and technology underpinning the central asset function will be determined out of its Australian operations.

It expects to bring on “principal advisors” to spearhead systems strategy, infrastructure, reliability, health and the creation of standard specifications and modelling for the asset function.

The roles are largely split across Perth and Brisbane, though the miner is also posting some G&I asset management resources out of Salt Lake City in the United States – another traditional technology base for the company.

Those brought on will be “defining and setting the high level business vision and strategy for group asset management systems” and leading the charge around continuous improvement, as well as data remediation and standardisation across Rio Tinto.

They will also focus on providing “the strategy, processes, tools and technology to manage and control risk and avoid unwanted consequences by understanding asset requirements and condition”.

Work is also expected to cover an expansion of the company’s asset database to provide more granular detail, and tracking the health of assets as well as the people that come into contact with them to reduce risk.

Rio Tinto indicated it similarly hopes to actively contribute to “communities of practice” and other industry working groups that focus on standards in the asset space, particularly around heavy mobile equipment (HME).

More broadly, G&I has been handed a remit to build a team “who operate along the entire life cycle” of its mines and assets.

“The group is accountable for finding, shaping, developing and delivering assets so that they’re safe and productive cash-generators,” according to Rio Tinto.

It is also about “finding safer, smarter and more efficient was to manage resources and operations”.

“We are particularly focused on bringing what we call horizontal accountabilities to life which includes delivering technical excellence globally,” G&I group executive Steve McIntosh told an investor seminar at the end of last year.

“We are also accountable for providing technical assurance and targeted technical support. We apply our knowledge and experience at the relevant points along the asset life cycle to ensure that we are managing risk effectively and generating maximum cash.”

McIntosh first rose to prominence in a technology sense when – as the miner’s head of exploration – he revealed plans to open Rio Tinto’s vast big data troves to junior miners in the hope that they would find – and then partner – to exploit ore body discoveries.

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