May 17, 2020

The mining industry is struggling to create a more gender equal industry, new report finds

gender equality
Dale Benton
2 min
The mining industry is seriously struggling to create a more gender equal industry at executive and board level, a new report has found.

The Pipeline h...

The mining industry is seriously struggling to create a more gender equal industry at executive and board level, a new report has found.

The Pipeline has released it's second annual Women Count 2017 report, which tracks and analyses the number of women on Executive Committees of FTSE 350 companies and it has revealed that the industry appears to have regressed when it comes to women in executive roles since 2016.

Only 16 percent of members on Executive Committees are women, the same percentage as 2016, showing no sign of progress. Also, more companies have no women on their Executive committees and have no women executives holding roles with profit and loss (P&L) responsibility than in 2016.

The report identifies three key areas in which mining companies are failing:

  •   There are only 13% of mining companies in the FTSE 350 that have Executive Committees which are at least 25% female, which is twelve points below the average.
  •  Mining has the lowest proportion of women executives that operate in P&L roles (6% compared to 35% across the FTSE 350).
  •  Mining companies had no women executives on their main plc boards.

In light of the report, Mining Global reached out to Barbara Dischinger, Founder of International Women in Mining, to find out how IWiM can help companies bring do more for women at executive level.

"These are disappointing figures and show that a lot of work does need to be done to get women on mining company boards. There are many board-ready women out there. We have a women on mining boards project and are building a database of mining women to make all of this easier for companies.

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We at IWiM can help put companies in touch with these women so that they have a wider pool to choose from in their recruitment process. They can contact us.

There’s a wealth of data showing that diverse boards have a greater return on equity and post a stronger financial performance. This is not about meeting quotas but about creating shareholder value and opening up your company to beneficial opportunities, as well as an issue of fairness and equality.

We need more women in the executive pipeline in the mining industry to make it easier for companies to recruit women to top roles. There are many hugely talented and capable women, we make sure to profile them every month, so that the thousands of women in mining around the world can see they are not alone.”

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May 20, 2021

Rio Tinto: Innovation is the key to transformation

Rio Tinto
Artificial intelligence
Smart Mining
4 min
Rio Tinto’s approach to innovation with automation, smart mining, AI and a digital partner ecosystem is sustaining its pioneering spirit

Rio Tinto was founded in 1873 when a multinational consortium of investors purchased a mine complex on the Rio Tinto in Huelva, Spain. The Anglo-Australian company is the second largest diversified mining and metals company in the world. From pioneering land agreements with Indigenous people in Australia in the 1990s, to being the first company in the world to have its aluminium certified as responsibly produced, to building one of the world’s largest robots: its pioneering spirit and innovation keep it moving forward.

Mine of the Future

Last year, Rio Tinto approved a $2.6bn investment in the Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia. The ‘Mine of the Future’ will serve as a production hub for the company’s world-class iron ore business in the Pilbara region, with a processing plant and infrastructure that also includes a 166km rail line. Construction is well underway with production set to begin later this year targeting an annual capacity of 43mn tonnes.

Featuring autonomous trucks, trains and drills, Koodaideri has more than 70 design innovations in scope. Last year, the company partnered with Caterpillar to supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems.  Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques commented: “Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto. It will be the most technologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of automation and the use of data to enhance safety and productivity.”

Digital Twin

Koodaideri will use fully integrated mine operation and simulation systems, such as digital twin technology. Pioneered by NASA, digital twins are virtual models of a physical environment – like a space station – that let you quickly test different situations. These twins combine data from actual processing plants with historical information – about things like design and production.

This gives Rio Tinto’s team in the field and at remote operations centre the ability to access the same information and make decisions, based on real-time data, in seconds instead of hours or days. The approach can also safely test ways to increase production without breaking parts or disrupting operations.


Automation has been a feature at Rio Tinto for more than a decade, helping run safer, more efficient and low-cost operations. The company is removing driver error and improving safety by increasing the automation of trucks, drills and trains.

Rio Tinto’s iron ore operation features the world’s first fully autonomous, heavy-haul long-distance railway system – AutoHaul™ – which has so far travelled more than 7 million kilometres across Australia.

Rio Tinto also deploy remotely operated land rovers and drones to do risky jobs to keep its people safe – such as checking high walls in open pits and parts inside big machinery.

Rio Tinto AutoHaul

Smart Mining

Data is an increasingly valuable asset – each day across Rio Tinto’s operations automated drills, trucks, shovels, conveyors, trains and ships produce huge amounts of valuable data. By combining this data with clever analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, operations can become safer and more productive.

Rio Tinto is turning data into operational insights with its Mine Automation System (MAS). It essentially operates like a network server application, pulling together data across 98% of Rio Tinto’s sites, and mining it for information.

MAS provides this information in a common format, using sophisticated algorithms. It can be displayed visually using RTVis™ – Rio Tinto Visualisation – or through more conventional operational type dashboards with graphs, charts and tables.


Artificial Intelligence

Mining operations generate vast volumes of data – an ocean of numbers, each with their own meaning and importance. With so much data now accessible, Rio Tinto uses Artificial Intelligence to leverage actionable insights to improve safety and efficiency. AI can perform a range of tasks – from generating orebody models to organising equipment dispatch to predicting maintenance needs. Rio Tinto’s MAS fleet is being deployed to see into the future for the Mine of the Future and:

  • Simultaneously manage everything from loaders to haul trucks to rock crushers
  • Make sure equipment is in the right place at the right time
  • Ensure equipment meets the day’s production targets
  • Respond to disruptions like breakdowns or delays

Partnering to Innovate

To maintain its pioneering spirit Rio Tinto continues to forge innovative partnerships with technology partners, local suppliers, governments, community groups, industry leaders and NGOs.

In 2018, Rio Tinto announced ELYSIS an alliance with Alcoa, supported by Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec. This joint venture will further develop a revolutionary process that eliminates direct GHG emissions from the aluminium smelting process, replacing them with pure oxygen. The technology will be developed and licensed for use in both existing and new smelters and is expected to be ready for commercial sale in 2024.

Rio Tinto, in association with AustMine, is also partnering with BHP and Vale to tackle climate change with the launch of the ‘Charge On’ Innovation Challenge. The goal is to cut diesel use and emission across the industry by finding new ways to electrify mining truck fleets.

Charge On Innovation Challenge

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