Tag Archives: Simon Trott

Rio Tinto, BHP, Hancock among miners supporting new Western Australia community initiative

The McGowan Government in Western Australia has launched what it says is a state-first Resources Community Investment Initiative, backed by major mining companies, which will facilitate investment in iconic state infrastructure projects and community and social initiatives across Western Australia.

Established with founding partners Rio Tinto, BHP, Hancock Prospecting, Roy Hill, Atlas Iron, Woodside Energy, Chevron Australia and Mineral Resources Ltd, the initiative provides a state government-backed platform for direct contribution to iconic infrastructure and social projects in the Western Australia community that will make the state an even better place to live for generations, the government said.

The initial commitments total A$750 million ($496 million) from Rio Tinto (A$250 million), BHP (A$250 million), Hancock Prospecting, Roy Hill and Atlas Iron (A$100 million), Woodside Energy (A$50 million), Chevron Australia A($50 million) and Mineral Resources (A$50 million).

Government will work with The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia and other companies to encourage additional investment from across Western Australia’s resources sector, it said.

An initial pipeline of projects has already been identified, including the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the Perth Zoo Master Plan, the Remote Aboriginal Communities Fund, the Perth Concert Hall redevelopment and additional contributions to Telethon.

It will also extend to include transformational projects across the state, to enable companies to collectively contribute to achieving long-term social and economic outcomes in the regions they operate in, in areas such as education and training, health, Aboriginal wellbeing and energy decarbonisation projects.

Each company will decide the projects they wish to nominate funding to and individual project agreements will be established with agreed project milestones.

An advisory committee, comprising of an independent chair as well as government and industry representatives, will be convened to oversee the initiative and ensure the highest standards of governance.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “This initiative is a great example of government and industry working together to support critical projects that will enable our community to prosper for generations to come. We want to leave a lasting, positive legacy wherever we operate, and this initiative will build on our more than 50 years of work helping to create thriving and resilient communities across Western Australia.”

BHP Asset President WA Iron Ore, Brandon Craig, said: “BHP has a long and proud history in Western Australia, and we welcome the collaborative approach taken by the Western Australia Government and the mining industry to strengthen our significant contribution to this great state. We look forward to furthering our support for long-term social and economic outcomes in the regions where we operate, and for all West Australians.”

Hancock Prospecting Executive Chairman, Gina Rinehart, said: “Hancock Prospecting, Roy Hill and Atlas Iron have invested in programs and infrastructure in West Australia over many years and we are pleased to make a further A$100 million contribution through the RCII initiated by Premier McGowan.”

Mineral Resources Ltd Managing Director, Chris Ellison, said: “Western Australians have played a vital role in the success of MinRes and our industry. As a proud Western Australian company, MinRes is continuing to grow, creating jobs and building projects in this great state. It is only natural that we support an initiative that is building a better future for all Western Australians.”

Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue devise pilot program to tackle sexual harassment, bullying and racism

Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue are launching a pilot program aimed at helping to eliminate disrespectful behaviour in the resources industry including sexual harassment, bullying and racism.

The launch comes after the three companies formed a partnership in October last year as part of their combined response to reports of unacceptable sexual harassment in the mining industry.

The three companies have worked together with leading experts to design and develop the industry-first program aimed at educating new entrants to the sector, they said.

The evidence-based program will educate participants about the impact of sexual harassment, bullying and racism, including how to recognise and report these behaviours.

The Building Safe and Respectful Workplaces pilot program project, managed by the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA), will be delivered on November 15 and 16 by experienced facilitators from Griffith University. The pilot program will be completed by 30 volunteers who are currently undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships with the three companies.

The results of the pilot will be fully evaluated and feedback from the participants will be used to finalise the learning program.

It is intended the program will be delivered from early in 2023 with a particular focus on new entrants to the mining industry.

As part of an ongoing commitment to educate about respectful behaviour, the companies will engage across industry and education providers on how to broaden the reach of the program.

It is anticipated the training course will be made available to other industries in the future through a range of education pathways.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “The launch of this pilot is a key milestone in our broader commitment to create a workplace culture that is safe, respectful and inclusive. Building awareness through education on how we can create safer work environments through the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment, bullying and racism is vital to ensuring those joining our industry feel safe.

“We’re proud to be collaborating with experts in this field, in partnership with industry leaders, and we look forward to the findings from the pilot and the opportunity to share with broader industry for the benefit of all Australians.”

BHP WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “Programs such as this help educate the next generation of workers to ensure our workplaces are safe, respectful and inclusive. While we know there is more to do, this pilot is part of our redoubled efforts to eliminate sexual harassment, and is in addition to a range of other measures including improved security at accommodation villages, additional public disclosures, specialised resources and company-wide training.

“We’re proud to be working with leading industry partners to deliver this important program as we work together to eliminate disrespectful behaviours from our industry.”

Fortescue Chief Operating Officer Iron Ore, Dino Otranto, said: “At Fortescue, safety is our first priority and we have zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour. We remain firmly committed to ensuring that Fortescue has safe and inclusive workplaces, and that the mining industry as a whole is a safe and welcoming place for everyone who works within it.

“We’re pleased to be working with our industry peers towards the common goal of ensuring that sexual harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviours do not occur in the mining industry.”

Rio Tinto and Wright Prospecting update Rhodes Ridge iron ore JV to accelerate development

Rio Tinto (50%) and Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd (50%) have agreed to modernise the joint venture covering the Rhodes Ridge project in the East Pilbara of Western Australia, providing a pathway for the development of the deposits using Rio’s rail (pictured), port and power infrastructure.

The binding joint venture updates an existing agreement between the two parties dating back to 1972.

The participants have commenced an Order of Magnitude study, conducted by Rio, which will consider the development of an operation before the end of the decade with initial plant capacity of up to 40 Mt/y, subject to the receipt of relevant approvals.

Rhodes Ridge contains 5,800 Mt of high grade mineral resources at an average grade of 62.3% Fe. The project’s total resource, 6,700 Mt at an average grade of 61.6% Fe, represents approximately one-third of Rio Tinto’s existing resource base in the Pilbara. A resource drilling program is currently underway to support future project studies.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “Rhodes Ridge contains one of the biggest and best undeveloped iron ore deposits on the planet with proximate access to existing infrastructure. We are very excited we have been able to strengthen our relationship with Wright Prospecting and have a pathway to bring this high quality resource to market.

“With its significant resource base, the Rhodes Ridge project has the potential to underpin production of the Pilbara Blend in the decades ahead.”

He added: “We are committed to working closely with the Traditional Owners, the Nyiyaparli and Ngarlawangga People, to ensure sites of significant cultural, environmental and biodiversity value are protected as part of any future development at Rhodes Ridge. Consistent with our revised approach for new operations, a co-management approach to any future mining activity will be developed in partnership with Traditional Owners.”

A spokesperson for Wright Prospecting, said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone for the Rhodes Ridge project. We look forward to partnering with Rio Tinto to develop this asset with a world-leading focus on climate, biodiversity and heritage.”

The joint venture intends to use Rio Tinto’s existing rail, port and power infrastructure, including the planned installment of 1 GW of renewable power assets in the Pilbara.

Rio Tinto and Baowu to invest $2 billion in Western Range iron ore development

Rio Tinto and China Baowu Steel Group Co. Ltd have agreed to enter into a joint venture with respect to the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia, investing $2 billion to develop the mine.

Western Range’s annual production capacity of 25 Mt of iron ore will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend from Rio Tinto’s existing Paraburdoo mining hub. The project includes construction of a primary crusher and an 18 km conveyor system linking it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 with first production anticipated in 2025. The construction phase will support approximately 1,600 jobs with the mine requiring about 800 ongoing operational roles, which are expected to be filled by existing workers transitioning from other sites in the Paraburdoo mining hub.

Rio Tinto’s share of the capital costs are already included in the group’s capital expenditure guidance of around $9-10 billion for each of 2023 and 2024. Both parties will pay their portion of capital costs for the development of the mine, and mine operating costs, plus a nominal ongoing resource contribution fee calculated by reference to Western Range production volumes. There is no upfront consideration being paid by either party.

Rio Tinto and Baowu, which own 54% and 46%, respectively, of the joint venture, have also agreed to enter into an iron ore sales agreement at market prices covering a total of up to 126.5 Mt of iron ore over approximately 13 years. This volume represents Baowu’s 46% interest in the anticipated 275 Mt of production from Western Range through the joint venture.

Rio Tinto has a long history of successfully partnering and investing with customers to develop new mines in the Pilbara. Rio Tinto and Baowu’s partnership in the Pilbara dates back to the 2002 Bao-HI joint venture to develop the Eastern Range deposits in the Hamersley Ranges (Eastern Range) and Western Range, subject to a production cap of 200 Mt. It is now expected the production cap will be sourced entirely from Eastern Range, and this transaction will continue Rio Tinto’s relationship with Baowu through development of Western Range.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “This is a very significant milestone for both Rio Tinto and Baowu, our largest customer globally. We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Baowu for more than four decades, shipping more than 200 Mt of iron ore under our original joint venture, and we are looking forward to extending our partnership at Western Range.

“The development of Western Range represents the commencement of the next significant phase of investment in our iron ore business, helping underpin future production of the Pilbara Blend, the market benchmark.

“At the same time, Rio Tinto and Baowu continue to work together on low-carbon steelmaking research, exploring new methods to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental performance across the steel value chain.”

Baowu Resources Chairman, Shi Bing, said: “The signing of the joint venture agreement for the Western Range project is a significant event in the history of cooperation between Baowu and Rio Tinto. We fully appreciate the persistent efforts of both teams in accomplishing the important achievement. The Bao-HI joint venture has been successfully operating for more than 20 years, leading us to a win-win result, and reaping friendship and trust.

“We hope that the two parties will deepen the mutually beneficial and win-win partnership, continue to carry forward the spirit of sincere cooperation and further expand cooperation in more fields and aspects on the basis of working together to operate the project well.”

Rio Tinto has worked closely with the Traditional Owners on whose country Western Range is situated, the Yinhawangka People, to co-design a Social and Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project, designed to protect signiticant cultural and heritage values in the area.

The plan, which was agreed with Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation and announced earlier this year, outlines protocols for joint decision-making on environmental matters and mine planning.

Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo hub is comprised of three operating mines, Paraburdoo, Channar and Eastern Range. Western Range contains two deposits, 36W–50W and 55W–66W, which are located within the Hamersley Basin of Western Australia. The deposits’ mineralisation is primarily hosted by the Brockman Iron Formation with additional detrital mineralisation present. The 36W–50W and 55W-66W deposits contain a measured resource of 22 Mt at 59.1% Fe, indicated resource of 102 Mt at 61.5% Fe and an inferred resource of 108 Mt at 61.4% Fe. The 36W–50W deposit contains a proven reserve of 109 Mt at 62.1% Fe and a probable reserve of 56 Mt at 61.7% Fe.

Rio Tinto details technology leaps at Gudai-Darri upon official opening

A week after delivering first ore, Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine, in Western Australia, has officially been opened, marking a major milestone for the company’s most technologically advanced mine.

Pilbara Traditional Owners, the Banjima People, and Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy, Bill Johnston MLA, today joined Rio Tinto employees as well as valued partners and suppliers to celebrate the official opening.

Since development commenced in April 2019, more than 14 million workhours have culminated in the delivery of Rio Tinto’s 17th and most technologically advanced iron ore mine in the Pilbara. Development of the mine supported more than 3,000 jobs during the construction and design phase with the operation requiring around 600 permanent roles.

With an expected life of more than 40 years and an annual capacity of 43 Mt, Gudai-Darri will underpin future production of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara Blend™ product. It’s expected to increase iron ore production volumes and improve product mix from the Pilbara from the second half of this year, the company says. The mine is expected to reach capacity in 2023.

To optimise mine safety and drive productivity, Gudai-Darri features an unprecedented deployment of technology, much of it industry-leading. This includes the use of robotics for the ore sampling laboratory as well as for distribution of parts in the new workshop.

This goes from autonomous trucks, trains and drills, standard across many Rio Tinto mines in the Pilbara, to a full digital replica of the processing plant which allows teams to monitor and respond to data collected from the plant. The same digital asset data is used to provide a feature rich, interactive 3D environment for virtual reality training. These autonomous assets are monitored remotely from Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre 1,500 km away in Perth.

The technology spread includes 23 Caterpillar 793F autonomous haul trucks and three Caterpillar MD6310 autonomous drills. The trucks, in this case, implement real-time ore tracking using sensors to provide live dig face progression, while data-informed modelling from the drills helps to build more accurate assessments of existing ground conditions and improve safety. In collaboration with Caterpillar, Rio Tinto is advancing the development of zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks. Once development is complete, it is anticipated the world’s first operational deployment of Caterpillar 793 zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks will be at Gudai-Darri.

Gudai-Darri also hosts the world’s first autonomous water carts.

The new vehicles, developed in partnership with Caterpillar, are primarily used for dust suppression on site, enhancing productivity by enabling mine operations to digitally track water consumption and reduce waste. The vehicle’s intelligent on-board system detects dry and dusty conditions on site, triggering the application of water to roads to keep them in good condition.

And, of course, it has autonomous trains under its AutoHaul™ system, which has been fully operational since June 2019.

The company has also invested in what it says is its first “rotable bucketwheel reclaimer”.

It explained: “Traditionally reclaimer maintenance requires a prolonged shutdown while several components are removed. This patented world first will enable the entire bucket wheel module to be changed out for maintenance, improving safety and efficiency.”

With the help of Scott Automation, the company has also introduced a robotic ore sampling lab on site, while its heavy mobile equipment warehouse is the home to four automatic guided vehicles.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “We’ve worked closely with both the Banjima and Yindjibarndi People through the planning and development stages of Gudai-Darri and we look forward to partnering with them into the future to ensure the project achieves significant social and economic benefits.

“Gudai-Darri represents a step-change in the deployment of automation and technology within our iron ore business and a fantastic demonstration of the talent, ingenuity and capability that exists in Western Australia, a region which is now known globally for its technical excellence and innovation. Gudai-Darri’s combination of data and analytics, machine learning and automation, will make this mine safer and more productive.

“Gudai-Darri is our first greenfield mine in the Pilbara in more than a decade and a multi-billion-dollar investment in the State of Western Australia that will operate for decades to come.”

Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy, Bill Johnston MLA, said: “I’m impressed by Rio Tinto’s innovation and sustainability; this is a prototype of the mine of the future. Once the new solar farm (a 34 MW farm consisting of about 83,000 panels) is complete it will be able to power one-third of Gudai-Darri’s operational needs with renewable energy.”

A total of A$3.2 billion ($2.2 billion) in goods and services were sourced within Western Australia during the construction phase of the Gudai-Darri Project with contracts valued at A$1.5 billion awarded directly to Western Australia-registered businesses such as NRW, Primero, DTMT Construction Company, Southern Cross Electrical Engineering and Monadelphous Engineering Associates.

This includes over A$100 million awarded directly to local Aboriginal businesses including White Springs, Lorrex Contracting, Hicks Civil & Mining, Brida, Karijini Development, Yurala Contracting Services, and Karlka FenceWright WA.

Rio delivers first ore from its most technologically advanced iron ore mine, Gudai-Darri

Rio Tinto has delivered first ore from the Gudai-Darri iron ore mine as the company brings online its first greenfield mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia, in more than a decade.

Gudai-Darri, which features autonomous trucks, trains and drills, as well as the world’s first autonomous water trucks, will help underpin future production of the company’s flagship Pilbara Blend™ product, Rio says.

The first autonomous AutoHaul™ trains loaded with ore from Gudai-Darri’s process plant have travelled the new 166-km rail line that connects to Rio Tinto’s existing rail and port infrastructure. Production from the mine will continue to ramp up through the remainder of this year and is expected to reach full capacity during 2023.

Since ground was broken in April 2019, more than 14 million workhours have resulted in the movement of over 20 million cu.m of earth, batching and placement of 35,000 cu.m of concrete and the installation of 10,000 t of steel. The development of Gudai-Darri supported more than 3,000 jobs during the construction and design phase, with the mine set to support around 600 ongoing permanent roles.

With an expected life of more than 40 years and an annual capacity of 43 Mt, Gudai-Darri will underpin future production of Pilbara Blend product, the company says. A feasibility study to support an expansion of this new hub is also progressing.

The mine’s commissioning and ramp-up is expected to increase Rio Tinto’s iron ore production volumes and improve product mix from the Pilbara in the second half of this year. Full-year shipments guidance for 2022 remains at 320-335 Mt (100% basis) subject to risks around the ramp up of new mines, weather and management of cultural heritage.

The capital cost for the mine is estimated to be $3.1 billion. As disclosed in February, the company’s replacement projects in the Pilbara, including Gudai-Darri, were subject to potential capital increases of approximately 15% due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, including labour access and supply chain quality issues. Group capital expenditure guidance for 2022 is unchanged at around $8 billion.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “The commissioning of Gudai-Darri represents the successful delivery of our first greenfield mine in over a decade, helping to support increased output of Pilbara Blend, our flagship product. It sets a new standard for Rio Tinto mine developments through its deployment of technology and innovation to enhance productivity and improve safety.

“I’d like to acknowledge the support of the Traditional Owners, the Banjima People, on whose country Gudai-Darri is situated. We have worked closely with the Banjima People to progress this project and we look forward to continuing to actively partner with them into the future.”

Rio Tinto Chief Technical Officer, Mark Davies, said: “The safe and successful delivery of Gudai-Darri, in the midst of a global pandemic, is testament to the resilience and hard work of thousands of Rio Tinto employees and contractors, including a range of local Western Australian suppliers, as well as Pilbara Aboriginal businesses.

“In building this new hub we have brought together the best of our innovations, including autonomous trucks, trains and drills, as well as the world’s first autonomous water trucks, to make Gudai-Darri our most technologically advanced iron ore mine.

“This suite of autonomous assets complements the planned deployment of other leading-edge technologies including a robotic ore sampling laboratory, field mobility devices for all personnel and a digital asset of the fixed plant, which, together with data analytics, will make Gudai Darri safer and more productive.”

Helping support Rio Tinto’s carbon emission reduction targets, Gudai-Darri will be powered by a 34 MW solar farm that is expected to supply about a third of the mine’s average electricity demand once construction is complete in August.

Together with a new lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Tom Price, the solar plant is estimated to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 90,000 t compared with conventional gas powered generation, equivalent to taking about 28,000 cars off the road.

Rio Tinto puts call out for locally-made Pilbara rail cars

Rio Tinto has called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Western Australia-based manufacturers to build 100 rail cars for its Pilbara iron ore mining operations.

The EOI callout follows its announcement in September it would look for opportunities for Western Australian suppliers to help grow the local rail car manufacturing industry and support local jobs.

Rio will initially purchase 50 rail cars from the successful supplier, followed by an ongoing commitment of 10 rail cars a year for the next five years, it said.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “I strongly encourage Western Australian manufacturers to submit an EOI to build these iron ore rail cars to service our Pilbara operations. We’re pleased to offer this opportunity to local businesses to support local jobs and the Western Australian economy.

“As the local manufacturing industry grows, we will continue to look at ways to engage local businesses to be part of our supply chain.”

The EOI supports the vision of the Western Australian Government’s iron ore rail car action group, which was formed to develop Western Australia’s manufacturing capability and which Rio Tinto is a member.

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.”