Australian miners should consider collaborating with other industries for critical innovations if they are not already, says Dr Craig Stegman, Rio Tinto’s Vice President, Operational and Technical Support, Copper and Diamonds. In a wide-ranging interview ahead of Dr Stegman’s appearance at the Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative conference from May 22-24, the Rio Tinto leader spoke at length about his company’s attitude towards digital innovation and about how Mining, Equipment, Technology and Service (METS) firms can take advantage.
Dr 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,” Dr 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.”
Dr Stegman will be presenting in the Securing our Competitive Future through Continual Innovation session alongside Dr 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. Dr Stegman’s topic of choice, 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.
Dr Stegman 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.”
Dr Stegman’s team also recently took a trip to MINExpo in Las Vegas where they came away from that convention with at least ten 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 22-24 May at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre. It is Australia’s premier conference for showcasing the best technological innovations in the resource industries.