NEWS RELEASE: CEMI’s Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction delivers industry & economic value

Setting the stage for large scale mining operations, now and in the future

Sudbury, ON (October 6, 2016) – CEMI (Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation) and Rio Tinto celebrate the completion of the Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction (RTC-UMC) at CEMI. This $10M investment in Canada’s mining innovation was created to undertake research in support of Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future™ programme with a focus on underground mining infrastructure and footprint reliability.

This state-of-the-art research and knowledge centre played a role in the development and implementation of innovative step-change research and technology development for underground mines, designed to minimize delays and create value through speed and geo-risk mitigation. The results of this collaborative centre have set the stage for large-scale mining operations, now and in the future. CEMI 2016 Annual Report

Since being established in December 2010, the RTC-UMC interacts and collaborates with academics, consultants and representatives from a consortium of Rio Tinto operations worldwide. The Centre has engaged an outstanding, globally networked solution team such as Itasca Consulting Group; Golder Associates; SRK Consulting; Aker Wirth; Atlas Copco; MIRARCO; Laurentian University; Queen’s University; Universities of Arizona and Toronto; University of British Columbia, Delft University, The Federal Technical University of Zurich, and many others.

The Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction (RTC-UMC) has been focused on three core areas essential to the success of large-scale mining operations: 1. Ground Control in Mechanized Excavations; 2. Characterization of Rock Mass Quality and Strength in Deep, Massive, Veined Orebodies; and 3. Development of Innovative, Efficient and Effective Support Systems for Increased Footprint Reliability.

The highlighted achievements fall into six themes: 1) mechanised excavation, 2) rock mass characterisation, 3) support systems, 4) rockburst control, 5) foot-print reliability, and 6) complementary studies. A summary of some of the objectives, achievements, and practical implications (value) can be found in the attached file and within CEMI’s 2016 Annual Report. RTC-UMC has contributed to some exceptional technical advances as well as made significant contributions to skill and HQP development. The safety impact potential of the research products is high, the program had significant innovation content, some aspects have significant immediate and long-term value, and the risk mitigation impact with respect to foot print reliability is high. The three most outstanding geotechnical achievements with high impact potential are related to rock mass strength determination, deformation-based support design and cave loading for pillar design.

Jacques N. Tshisens, Principal Advisor, Geotechnical Engineer, Technical Support, Copper and Diamonds, Rio Tinto remarked, that “Rio Tinto embraces new developments from the Centre, some of which have been incorporated into the geotechnical best practice guidelines. An extraordinary foundation has been laid by the Centre for many further advances. The research team sees much innovation potential and an ongoing need for research and development.”

Douglas Morrison, President & CEO of CEMI reflected on the importance of the RTC-UMC at CEMI stating, “Rio Tinto’s significant investment in RTC-UMC continues to put Canada on the map for innovation in underground mining. I would like to applaud the contribution of the team leaders: Dr. Peter Kaiser as Start-Up Director, Matthew Pierce, Director, Dr. Erik Eberhardt, Associate Director and thank Rio Tinto for their continued support of CEMI in helping to create innovative solutions to some of the most challenging underground mining issues. We look forward to continuing our work with Rio Tinto.”

William Forsyth, Director, Operational & Technical Services, Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds reflects, “Rio Tinto recognizes that our mines are becoming deeper, with lower grades and increasing limitations on accessing water and power. CEMI’s projects aim to address these challenges and as a result Rio Tinto Operations in North America, based in Salt Lake City, is currently developing the next phase in our relationship with CEMI to work on these issues.”

About CEMI

CEMI – the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation is a national not-for-profit organization that directs and coordinates step-change innovation in the areas of exploration, deep mining, integrated mine engineering, underground mine construction and environment and sustainability for the metal mining industry. CEMI engages in cross-sector collaboration with Canadian and global mining companies, universities & colleges, governments and innovative SMEs within the service and supply sector. With a seasoned team of program directors, CEMI identifies, assesses, and manages industry-focused applied research and business-led programs.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading global mining and metals group that focuses on finding, mining and processing and marketing the Earth’s mineral resources. Our goal is to deliver strong and sustainable shareholder returns from our portfolio of world-class assets and our compelling pipeline of projects. With headquarters in the UK, our Group comprises Rio Tinto plc – a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited – which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. We are strongly represented in Australia and North America, and also have significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.


Contact for Technical Information:
Matt Pierce
Director for RTC-UMC
Principal Engineer, Itasca
(612) 371-4711 x 113

Contact for Media Relations:
Shannon Katary
Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI)
Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN)
705-673-6568 x 71
(c) 705-507-4842

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