Tag Archives: Simon Trott

Austin’s milestone ULTIMA truck body delivered to Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Austin Engineering has announced the delivery of its 1,000th truck body to Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia.

The milestone was marked with a ceremony at Austin’s Kewdale-based manufacturing facility, attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan (right), Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Officer, Simon Trott (centre), along with Austin’s Chairman, Jim Walker, and Chief Executive Officer, David Singleton (left).

The ULITMA truck body in question was unveiled on site today.

Over the past 30 years, Austin has supplied approximately A$300 million ($214 million) of its designed and engineered equipment to Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations. Austin also supplies equipment to Rio Tinto’s global operations from its manufacturing sites spread across four continents.

Austin and Rio Tinto’s partnership commenced in 1988 with Western Australia-based John’s Engineering and Cranes (JEC), which is now part of the Austin business, providing truck body components to Robe River, a Rio Tinto Group Company.

Austin’s Kewdale facility is one of two of the company’s major manufacturing sites in the Asia Pacific region. Austin is investing A$6.5 million to implement advanced manufacturing processes and capabilities at its Perth and Batam (Indonesia) sites, including increased automation and the use of custom jigs, fixtures, workstations and a standardised manufacturing approach to building products.

The Kewdale facility is currently receiving the first manufacturing upgrade, which will benefit major customers, such as Rio Tinto, and enhance the company’s supply of Western Australian-made dump truck bodies and other hauling and loading products, Austin said.

Singleton said: “In the dynamic and constantly evolving mining industry, it is becoming an increasing rarity to see a long-standing partnership, particularly one deeply rooted in the local community, going from strength-to-strength. This makes today’s milestone all the more extraordinary, and like the other 999 truck bodies we’ve made for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia, it will be manufactured locally.

“Austin is proud of its role in helping Rio Tinto successfully deliver the iron ore that is the economic lynchpin of our great state.”

McGowan said: “Austin Engineering is one of WA’s key local manufacturers. It is providing mining companies like Rio Tinto with locally designed and manufactured equipment, but it is also creating an increasing number of local job opportunities here at its Kewdale facility.

“Rio Tinto’s commitment to purchasing Western Australian made truck bodies, that will be used right here in the state, reflects the WA State Government’s commitment to boost local manufacturing, local content, and local jobs, enabling our State to become more self-sufficient and prosperous into the future.”

Rio’s Trott said: “The manufacture of the 1,000th truck body for our iron ore operations here in Western Australia is a testament to the Austin-Rio Tinto relationship that spans three decades and covers the globe.

“The partnership is an example of our commitment to working with local business to create ongoing employment and to develop world-class products. We are committed to sourcing local content wherever possible to support our suppliers, our business and the communities in which we operate. I look forward to our longstanding partnership continuing to support the Western Australian economy.”

Rio Tinto and BlueScope to test clean hydrogen use at Port Kembla Steelworks

Rio Tinto says it and BlueScope are to work together on exploring low-carbon steelmaking pathways using Pilbara iron ores, including the use of clean hydrogen to replace coking coal at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks, in Australia.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to research and design low-emissions processes for the steel value chain, including iron ore processing, iron and steelmaking and related technologies.

Rio Tinto and BlueScope will prioritise studying the use of green hydrogen at the Port Kembla Steelworks to directly reduce Pilbara iron ores into a product that could then be processed in an electric melter to produce metallic iron suitable to be finished into steel, it said.

The MoU expands the partnership between the two companies, who were already jointly studying technology to reduce carbon emissions from existing iron and steelmaking processes. It will also allow more projects to be added as technologies mature, according to Rio.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “This partnership will benefit from BlueScope’s experience and know-how in using electric melters at its New Zealand steelworks, Rio Tinto’s experience in the Atlantic direct reduction market and the R&D capability and the experience of both Rio Tinto and BlueScope in iron ore processing.

“It is early days, but given both BlueScope and Rio Tinto are committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we realise we need to investigate multiple pathways and strike partnerships across the steel value chain.”

BlueScope Chief Executive, Mark Vassella, said: “We are pleased to be working with Rio Tinto, who supply the majority of iron ore to our Port Kembla plant. It’s a natural fit for us both and a meaningful opportunity for Australian steelmaking and mining to explore ways of contributing to emissions reduction targets.

“This is an important program – one which will need broad support from governments, regulators, customers and suppliers. At a time when there is much talk and expectation about climate, this is an example of two significant Australian businesses getting on with real action. We are putting our dollars and our people right on the front line of addressing climate change.”

The first phase of the collaboration will be to determine the scale of a pilot plant to be based at the Port Kembla Steelworks, consisting of a hydrogen electrolyser, direct reduction process and melter.

At an investor seminar last week, Rio said it was focused on studying three potential pathways towards net neutral steelmaking; using sustainable biomass with Pilbara iron ore to replace coking coal in the iron and steelmaking process; using hydrogen-based hot-briquetted iron with high-grade ores in Canada; and using hydrogen direct reduced iron with a melter for Pilbara ores.

This MOU aligns with the last potential pathway and shows Rio Tinto’s commitment to each of them, the miner said.

At the same investor seminar, it announced new targets of reducing its Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target, and a 15% reduction in emissions by 2025, five years earlier than previously. These targets are supported by around $7.5 billion of direct investments to lower emissions between 2022 and 2030.

Rio, BHP and Fortescue partner on new learning programs to create safer workplaces

Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) have agreed to partner and fund what they say are innovative, industry-first learning programs as part of a continued commitment towards mining sector workplaces that are free from sexual harassment, bullying and racism.

Through this partnership, the miners will fund and contribute to the design, build and implementation of new social awareness education packages for deployment through a range of education providers such as TAFE, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), universities and high schools.

By starting conversations on these vital topics through education providers, the industry can make an important contribution to raise awareness of social wellbeing and related behaviours (collectively referred to as “psychosocial harm”) for the benefit of all Western Australians, they said.

The collaboration partners will invite leading experts in social wellbeing to form part of a working group bringing together government, community, industry and educators across TAFE, RTOs, universities and high schools in Western Australia to design and implement the program.

A pilot program for TAFE students will be developed through South Metropolitan TAFE. The pilot, to be developed in 2022, will form part of core learning requirements for students who may be planning to join Rio Tinto, BHP or Fortescue. South Metropolitan TAFE will go on to share this education package through the broader WA TAFE network.

The partnership will also explore the potential to work with universities and high schools to encompass broader education pathways across the state, as well as for delivery in workplaces. In time, these packages will be made available for application across broader industries and across other parts of Australia, the miners said.

The education program is one of a number of initiatives introduced by mining companies to address sexual harassment, bullying and racism in Western Australia’s mining sector.

All three companies joined with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy earlier this year to pledge support for the parliamentary enquiry into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry and committed to work together to eradicate these behaviours from the sector.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Iron Ore, Simon Trott, said: “Our number one priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of our people and our communities. We recognise that we have some way to go to achieve workplaces free from sexual harassment, bullying and racism across our industry and we are committed to making the changes needed to create a safer work environment where respectful behaviour is experienced by everyone.

“Education is one part of a range of measures Rio Tinto is introducing to create safer workplaces, including building leadership capability, improving our camp facilities, new rules on the consumption of alcohol, as well as improving the way we prevent, respond to, report and investigate incidents in order to build a respectful, safe and inclusive culture.

“We expect this partnership with BHP and FMG will help build a safer workplace and help empower our future workforce to create the culture we need.”

BHP WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “Sexual assault and sexual harassment have no place at BHP or anywhere in our industry. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace at all times, where disrespectful behaviours are eliminated. Education and training are critical to ensuring common understanding of the behaviours that are appropriate and acceptable at BHP.

“This industry collaboration will complement our existing internal training programs, leadership training, communication campaigns, and upgrades to camp security, and support services available to anyone who experiences disrespectful behaviour.”

Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “The safety and wellbeing of the Fortescue family is our highest priority and we are strongly committed to providing a safe, diverse and inclusive work environment for all our team members. There is no place for harassment and bullying of any kind in the mining sector or in any workplace, and we will continue to work with industry partners to take decisive action to ensure our workplaces are safe for everyone.

“In line with our value of empowerment, this partnership with Rio Tinto and BHP will provide young West Australians looking at a career in the mining sector with the skills to identify and speak up against inappropriate behaviour and enhance the safety, culture and experience of working in Western Australia’s mining sector.”

Rio Tinto makes Western Australia Pilbara rail car pledge

Rio Tinto says it is supporting iron ore rail car manufacturing in Western Australia with a commitment to use local suppliers to build ore rail cars for its Pilbara mining operations.

A tender will soon be released to the local market for an initial purchase of 50 ore rail cars, followed by an ongoing commitment of 10 ore cars a year for the next five years.

The tender will be released through the Rio Tinto Buy Local portal, a resource dedicated to making local suppliers aware of opportunities to partner with Rio Tinto and be part of our supply chain, the miner says.

“Western Australia has been an important part of Rio Tinto’s history for more than 50 years as the company built a world-class iron ore business,” it says. “In 2020, the company spent A$7.5 billion ($5.4 billion) with more than 2,000 local businesses based in Western Australia.”

Rio Tinto is also part of the Western Australia Government’s iron ore rail car action group, launched as part of the Western Australia Recovery Plan to develop a competitive iron ore rail car manufacturing industry in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, says: “Building Rio Tinto’s ore rail cars here in Western Australia will support local manufacturing and create jobs for West Australians. Rio Tinto is proud to lead the way in building iron ore rail cars in Western Australia, in line with the vision of state government’s iron ore rail car action group. I look forward to partnering with local businesses to support and grow the local manufacturing industry in Western Australia.

“Ore cars are a critical part of our mining operations and building capacity to manufacture ore cars locally in Western Australia will deliver significant benefits for Rio Tinto and the Western Australian economy.”

Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, says: “This is a pleasing outcome and I commend Rio Tinto for taking the first step and committing to our local steel manufacturing industry which will support more jobs for Western Australians. Rio Tinto’s commitment is a positive result off the back of the state government’s independent prefeasibility study, which identified initiatives for the manufacture, refurbishment and maintenance of iron ore railcar wagons.

“This was about securing an ongoing pipeline of work for the long-term manufacture of iron ore wagons and critical rail wagon parts, which will deliver jobs and economic benefit for the state into the future. Rio Tinto’s purchase of Western Australian made railcars that will be used right here in our state is something I encourage other iron ore companies operating in Western Australia to get on board with and increase local content and local jobs.”