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Rio Tinto Announces Global Center for Underground Mine Construction

December 2, 2010
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Rio Tinto has announced it is teaming with world-leading researchers to create the Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction. The new center will be based at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) in Sudbury, Ontario, and will focus on innovative rapid mine construction and ground control for mining at depth.

Rio Tinto is investing $10 million (Canadian, approximately $9.9 million U.S.) over five years in the center, completing a suite of five global long-term Rio Tinto research centers around the world.

The work with CEMI will assist Rio Tinto’s development of new excavation systems through The Mine of the Future™ program, focusing on significantly improving the construction and operation of underground mines. As part of this program, Rio Tinto will conduct a performance verification trial in 2012 at Northparkes’ copper and gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, as the first of three new underground excavation systems.

“In order to satisfy the global demand for minerals, we will need to go deeper to access new resources,” said John McGagh, head of Innovation, Rio Tinto. “By partnering with CEMI, Rio Tinto is supporting research into high-speed underground mine construction. This collaboration is in keeping with our long-term commitment to innovation. It’s part of our strategy to collect the world’s experts and develop mutually beneficial partnerships to develop technologies that address the future requirements of Rio Tinto.”

For additional details, visit www.riotinto.com.

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