The 2018 financial year proved to be a challenging year for South African mining companies. Globally, the financial performance of the mining industry improved considerably from the previous year. That position was largely mirrored by South African bulk commodity producers with iron ore, coal, manganese and chrome performing well. Unfortunately the aggregated SA mining industry, which is more exposed to precious metals, did not enjoy the same benefit from price increases. These are some of the key highlights from PwC’s ( 10th edition of SA Mine, a series of publications that highlights trends in the South African mining industry released today.

Michal Kotzé, PwC Africa Energy Utilities & Resources Leader, says: “2018 can be described as a mixed bag of performance for South Africa’s mining industry, with bulk commodity prices continuing to rise during 2018 from the lows at the beginning of 2016, while precious metals continued to struggle.

“Cost-saving initiatives could not offset the impact of input cost inflation. The increased costs and production challenges meant a weakening in operating results. Together with the gold and platinum impairments, it meant that the industry recorded a loss for 2018.”

For the first time since 2012, capital expenditure grew as the completion of long-term platinum and gold projects continues, while older and inefficient shafts are being closed.

While the new mining charter underlined the regulatory uncertainty, the appointment of a new minister of mineral resources in February 2018 brought hope of open dialogue and more certainty to the industry.

Although the gazetted version of the charter is likely to still receive some criticism, there was a concerted effort by industry and government to move closer to each other. Environmental regulatory changes are also receiving deserved attention.  In this edition, we have also included a brief look at the regulatory changes in the DRC and Tanzania.

Market capitalisation

In 2018 total market capitalisation of the 31 companies analysed in this report recovered to R482 billion (2017: R420 billion). Although it is a R62 billion increase on the previous year, it is still below the June 2016 level of R560 billion.

Gold and platinum group metals (PGMs) continue to dominate the share of market capitalisation of the companies analysed, but experienced declines of 4% and 5% respectively. Iron ore saw an increase of R40 billion from 2017 to 2018; increasing the commodity’s percentage share of capitalisation from 13% to 20%. The rest of the commodities remained stable.


Manganese, iron ore and chrome are the only commodities that showed real production growth over the last 15 years. Coal production showed a marginal increase for the first time in three years. However, it has remained largely flat over the last 15 years. Gold continues its long-term decline. The ongoing low-price environment for platinum is likely to result in further curtailment of supply in the absence of a reasonable price increase.

Financial performance

Total revenue generated by the companies analysed for the financial year-end 30 June 2018, increased by 8% (R28 billion) from the prior year. Increased coal and manganese revenues mainly drove this. Coal grew its share of total SA mining revenue and leads at 29% of mining revenue for the year. The increase was driven by good Rand price increases for the commodity, with production marginally up. Platinum and gold reflected a lower percentage on the back of relatively weak prices and low production for the year.

The rand strengthened in the second half of the year resulting in an average decrease in prices received for gold, platinum and iron ore. “The decrease in rand prices, as well as weaker production for gold and platinum, are putting deep-level South African gold and platinum producers under significant pressure as reflected in the market capitalisation of these entities,” Andries Rossouw, PwC Partner adds.

Despite various cost saving initiatives, above inflation cost increases continues to put the industry under pressure with a decline in EBITDA.

Capital expenditure recovered from the lowest levels in ten years to reflect a 19% increase. Operating expenses increased by 13%. Labour costs continue to be the biggest cost driver in the mining industry.

The current year impairment doubled from the previous year mainly because of gold and platinum impairments. After last year’s net profit, this year’s companies are back in a loss-making position due to the higher impairments and lower EBITDA. The EBITDA margin of 22% is lower than the previous year’s 25%.

Net interest expense increased by R2 billion from the prior year, mainly because of borrowings utilised for business combinations. The mining companies had an aggregated tax expense of R9 billion down from R10 billion on the previous year, but reflected increased tax payments of R18 billion, a 29% increase on the prior year.

Solvency ratios decreased slightly compared to the previous year as a result of the net loss realised due in the main to impairment provisions recognised. The aggregated liquidity position is also healthy and better than for the global mine position. Unfortunately, this hides the challenges still experienced at individual company level.

The risk environment

The risks disclosed by global mining companies and those risks disclosed by South African mining companies largely collerates. However, the following matters stand out from the comparison: South Africa is less prone to natural disasters, although some mines have had to close in the past because of incidences such as flood damage and droughts. Technology and cyber risks are becoming more prominent in the global mining environment. Market competition is not disclosed in South Africa as a major risk.

The Mining Charter

The revised Mining Charter was released in June 2018 and gazetted on 27 September 2018.

New licence holders are required to have 30% black ownership. An added requirement is that of carried interest (CI). The concept of CI is not new to the mining industry. Carried interest means shares issued to qualifying employees and host communities at no cost to them and free of any encumbrance. The cost for the carried interest shall be recovered by a right holder from development of the asset. Many African countries have provisions in their mining regulations that give government a 5%-15% free stake in mining companies. However, this has not always proved to have the desired effect, as host states are often of the view that mining companies do not make dividend payments promptly.

In addition, the 20% black female representation requirement has changed from last year’s 25% black female representation requirement. It is notable that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which has been subject to legislative processes since 2013, has been withdrawn.With the Charter now gazetted, it remains to be seen whether business and government can more effectively work towards a more stable South African mining environment.

Value to mining investors in South Africa

The mining industry continues to add significant value to the country and its people. Stakeholders in the industry include employees and their families, unions, government, shareholders, suppliers and customers. As reported in company value added statements, employees still take the lion share of value added at 47%, followed by government through direct taxes, as well as payroll and royalties with 24%. Shareholders got an improved share on the back of improved dividends from bulk commodity producers.


Some 16 years after the enactment of the initial version of the mining code, an economic crisis has hit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). During this time, cobalt has become the most expensive material in the portable lithium-ion battery used in smartphones and electric vehicles (EVs), now representing about half of the market for the metal. The DRC has 69% of the global cobalt production share.

A new mining code has been drafted for stronger rules, more transparency, opportunities for local development and an equitable fiscal regime. However, the final version signed into law in March 2018 is unsupported by many mining companies.


Tanzania recently introduced regulatory changes for the mining sector, which appear to have dampened investor sentiment. These changes have not come about in isolation as a number of jurisdictions in Africa have introduced more severe regulatory regimes – but it does appear that Tanzania may have gone further than most. Some of these regulatory changes are the new income tax regime introduced in 2016, increased royalty rates and a new ‘clearance fee’ charged on the export of minerals, restrictions on VAT input credit in relation to the export of unprocessed ore and new local content requirements.

About PwC:

At PwC , our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with more than 236,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at PwC has a presence in 34 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries.



Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has awarded contracts valued at over A$6 million to two West Australian Aboriginal businesses, as part of the Company’s pioneering Billion Opportunities program.

Fortescue Chief Financial Officer Ian Wells said the contracts signified the Company’s continued commitment to supporting local content as part of its procurement process.

“We are proud of our positive approach to engagement with Aboriginal people and providing access to training, employment and business opportunities,” Mr Wells said.

“By partnering with Aboriginal businesses to build their capability and capacity, we are opening the doors to future work with other organisations which is fundamental to their economic sustainability and prosperity.”  

Since the inception of Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities in 2011, 270 contracts and sub-contracts valued at A$2 billion have been awarded to 110 Aboriginal-owned business and joint ventures.

Aboriginal-Noongar owned business Kooya Australia Fleet Solutions has been awarded a three-year contract for the supply of light and commercial leased vehicles across Fortescue’s operational sites. A family owned business, Kooya was established in 2015 and today has become Australia’s largest Indigenous fleet management and rental company.

Owner and Principal Executive Officer Kim Collard said he looked forward to building on this new partnership with Fortescue, which provides the foundation to further expand the company.

“This contract is an investment in the future of our business and with the ongoing guidance and mentoring from Fortescue, we look forward to being able provide more opportunities to Aboriginal people through employment and training,” he said.

Following a competitive tender process, Thuroona Services, a majority owned Aboriginal business in Western Australia, was awarded a contract for maintenance work at Fortescue’s rail operations.

“By working together with Fortescue, we will do our part in bridging the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians by directly creating Indigenous jobs and helping to financially support the training and employment of Indigenous trainees, staff and contracts,” Director Terry Riley said.

Metalloinvest, a leading global iron ore and HBI producer and supplier, and one of the regional producers of high-quality steel, announces the construction of open-pit crushing and conveying facilities to transport mined rock at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK.

The German company TAKRAF GmbH, part of Tenova Group, will supply the equipment for the cyclical and continuous transportation system at Lebedinsky GOK and the crushing and conveyor facility on the north-east side of Mikhailovsky GOK. The signing of the agreement to supply equipment for Lebedinsky GOK and the letters of intent to implement a joint project at Mikhailovsky GOK took place as part of the IMPC 2018–EXPO exhibition. The documents were signed by Andrey Varichev, CEO of Management Company Metalloinvest, and Dr. Frank Hubrich, CEO of TAKRAF GmbH.

Metalloinvest values the investment in the cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility (at the north-eastern side of the quarry) at RUB 11bn and RUB 4.6bn respectively. The launch of the cyclical and continuous transportation system is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020, while the launch of the crushing and conveyor facility has been scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

The joint implementation of the projects will enable the Company to transport approximately 55mn tonnes of iron ore per year at Lebedinsky GOK and up to 35mn tonnes per year at Mikhailovsky GOK. The crushing and conveyor facility at the south-eastern side of the Mikhailovsky GOK quarry is in its implementation phase with capacity to transport 15mn tonnes of iron ore per year.

The facilities will also allow Metalloinvest to extract high-quality and easily-beneficiated reserves, bypass rail and transportation routes and ensure the long-term, top level production of iron ore concentrate of the required quality.

The implementation of the projects will enable the Company to decrease iron ore production and shipping costs by applying more efficient and accurate technologies of iron ore transportation and sizing down the mining facility fleet (excavators and rolling stock).

Andrey Varichev, CEO of Management Company Metalloinvest, said: “The cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility are large scale and important investment projects that enable the Company to significantly boost the efficient development of iron ore deposits. These projects are part of comprehensive development programmes at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK that aim to reduce operating costs, increase production volumes and improve production quality. We are confident that TAKRAF equipment can ensure the reliable and continuous work of the crushing and conveyor facilities.”

Dr. Hubrich mentioned: “Tenova TAKRAF is very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute with its experience and know-how to these two ground-breaking projects with Metalloinvest in Russia. We will provide proven technology, which is sufficient for the heavy conditions works with high performance. The Company’s careful consideration of easy equipment maintenance will assure a high level of reliability and safety.”

Currently, mined rock at Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK is auto-transported from the lowest levels of the open-pit mine to loading points. The ore is then transported by rail freight to the beneficiation plants while the waste rock gets dumped. After the launch of the cyclical and continuous transportation system and the crushing and conveyor facility, the ore will be transported to the open-pit crushing station, instead of the loading points. The crushed iron ore will then be loaded to highly productive conveying lines at the ground level, from where, in the case of the cyclical and continuous transport system at Lebedinsky GOK, it will be taken to the beneficiation plant using conveying transport.

In the case of Mikhailovsky GOK, the ore will be stored at the intermediate store, from where it will be unloaded by excavators on railway freight and sent for further processing to beneficiation plants. The crushing and conveying technology ensures seamless transportation as its route is significantly shorter and occupies less space than railway routes and causes less exploitational loss than the cyclical railway transportation.

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation is pleased to announce that following the completion of its Phase 2 drilling program, the Company has updated the Mineral Resource for its New Ingerbelle property.  Results of resource estimation based on the Phase 2 drilling program have exceeded the Company's goal set for Phase 3.

The drilling program has successfully expanded the resource area and converted a significant part of the previously Inferred Mineral Resource to the Indicated and Measured categories. The New Ingerbelle deposit is located approximately one kilometre from the Company's flagship operation, the Copper Mountain Mine (See Appendix A for New Ingerbelle location map).

Highlights from New Ingerbelle Mineral Resource are:

    More than one billion pounds of copper and one million ounces of gold in Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource at a 0.12% copper cut-off grade
    Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource of 151 million tonnes grading 0.29% copper and 0.18 g/t gold (0.41% CuEq) at a 0.16% copper cut-off grade
    Inferred Mineral Resource of 69 million tonnes grading 0.27% copper and 0.16 g/t gold (0.38% CuEq) for contained metal of 405 million pounds of copper and 0.36 million ounces of gold at a 0.16% cut-off copper grade.

Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain's President and CEO stated, "Given the size and quality of the Mineral Resource, we believe New Ingerbelle has the potential to be a significant contributor of value to the Company. With New Ingerbelle's Mineral Resource exceeding our target, our next step now will be to move New Ingerbelle into the evaluation phase.

The evaluation phase will include a mine plan and economic analysis to move the Mineral Resource to the Mineral Reserve category. Given New Ingerbelle's favourable grade and proximity to our Copper Mountain operation, it has the real potential for growth and flexibility for our near-term production plans. Further, it is just one of several high-quality growth projects we have in our portfolio."

A summary of New Ingerbelle's Mineral Resource estimate is provided below. The new resource estimate is based on approximately 38,000 metres of historical drill data which is below current topography and 15,000 metres of new drilling, which includes drill and assay information up to September 17, 2018.

The Mineral Resource includes drilling from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 drilling programs Copper Mountain started in 2017 and completed in September 2018. The Company's original goal for its 3-Phase program was to define sufficient resources in order to complete an initial mine plan and economic analysis. However, as it has already exceeded this goal in its Phase 2 program, Copper Mountain now plans to move New Ingerbelle into the evaluation phase, where the Company will complete an initial mine plan and economic analysis to upgrade the Mineral Resource to the Mineral Reserve category. Following the evaluation phase, the Company will assess the potential to further expand the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource in a follow-up Phase 3 program.

Mineral Resource Estimation Methodology

The Mineral Resource estimate was completed by company employees under the guidance and supervision of Peter Holbek, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The resource estimate was prepared in conformity with CIM Best Practices guidelines. The estimate was prepared using Gemcom software, a three-dimensional block model (15m cubic blocks) where grades were interpolated into blocks from 7.5m drill hole composite grades by ordinary kriging.  Classification of resources is based on the size of the interpolation search ellipse and number of composites and drill holes informing the interpolated blocks. Mineral resources are constrained by a Whittle pit shell generated at a US$3.50 copper price with current mine-site operating costs and metal recoveries.

About Copper Mountain Mining Corporation

Copper Mountain's flagship asset is the 75% owned Copper Mountain mine located in southern British Columbia near the town of Princeton. The Copper Mountain mine produces about 90 million pounds of copper equivalent per year with a large resource that remains open laterally and at depth. Copper Mountain also has the permitted, development stage Eva Copper Project in Queensland, Australia and an extensive 379,000 hectare highly prospective land package in the Mount Isa area. Copper Mountain trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "CMMC" and Australian Stock Exchange under the symbol "C6C". Additional information is available on the Company's web page at

GOLDCORP INC is pleased to announce the third annual #DisruptMining innovation challenge and live finale event will be presented on Sunday, March 3, 2019 during the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto, Canada.


    Goldcorp and presenting sponsor KPMG will co-host the 2019 #DisruptMining innovation expo and "shark-tank" style live event at the Rebel Entertainment Complex

    Technology disruptors are encouraged to submit their ideas for a chance to pitch to senior mining, technology and finance leaders in front of a live audience of mining influencers and decision-makers

    Winning disruptor(s) can earn an opportunity to negotiate up to $1 million investment* from Goldcorp, one of the world's most innovative gold producers

    Net proceeds from the #DisruptMining finale event will support innovation-focused scholarships and community-building initiatives

    Spark your imagination with the #DisruptMining launch video

    Deadline for Submissions: November 5, 2018

Now in its third year as a catalyst for change in mining, the #DisruptMining innovation challenge has a track record of encouraging new ideas, identifying new opportunities and helping to accelerate the growth of new companies tackling challenges in mining in new and different ways.  Innovators and entrepreneurs are encouraged to submit their ideas for a chance to pitch in front of a live audience of over 500 industry leaders and a "shark-tank" style panel of cross-industry titans. The winner(s) will have the opportunity to negotiate up to $1 million investment* for a proof of concept at one of Goldcorp's mines or direct investment in the winning technologies.

"The mining industry today is collaborating and investing in technology and innovation like never before.  We have digitized, automated and applied new technologies to various aspects of the mining life cycle, but our industry needs to accelerate the cycle of innovation even more to stay competitive, deliver greater value to shareholders and be best prepared for our future," said Todd White, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Goldcorp. "Goldcorp is amongst the most innovative companies in the gold business, and we see #DisruptMining as a catalyst that helps us identify and champion new ideas, new partnerships, new technologies and new thinkers. At least seven of our #DisruptMining alumni have launched to new levels. We believe there are a lot more great ideas out there, and we're ready to help make them happen."

Following the 2018 #DisruptMining challenge, winner Acoustic Zoom, an advanced geophysics company specializing in innovative seismic solutions, secured a $1 million investment in its business from Goldcorp and launched a $150,000 pilot program at Goldcorp's Red Lake Gold Mines in Ontario.  Other #DisruptMining alumni including: Enviroleach, LlamaZoo, Open Mineral, Bio-Mine, Cementation, Goldspot Discoveries, KORE Geosystems and Tradewind Markets have transformed their rogue ideas, become established start-ups, substantially evolved their services and operations, or have scaled their leading-edge technology solutions.

"DisruptMining was truly a catalyst for our business and put us on the world stage," said Prof. Jacques Guigné, Chief Executive Officer, Acoustic Zoom. "We now have multiple international contracts with major mining companies and have accelerated the development of our technology with further innovations, in addition to building our ability to service with a growing equipment portfolio."

#DisruptMining offers entrepreneurs a platform to bring disruptive and exponential technologies to the sector, whether it's unlocking exploration opportunities; finding operational and production efficiencies; reducing the environmental footprint and delivering on sustainability commitments; or developing alternative ways to finance capital projects.

Any innovator interested in pitching their idea at the #DisruptMining innovation expo and "shark-tank" style live event is encouraged to submit an application. Full application details and requirements can be found at: Submissions will be accepted until November 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.

DisruptMining 2019 Submission Categories:

    Mining Transformation: Operate and manage mines with increased productivity.

    Metallurgy Transformation: Decrease the mass, energy, water and chemical intensity required in metallurgical processes .

    Sustainability Transformation: Move Towards Zero Water and sustainable energy usage.

    Digital Transformation: Create digital intelligence with new applications and integrated interfaces.

    Geology Transformation: Improve mineral mapping and measurement.

    "Go Rogue": An idea so out-of-the-box it deserves its own category.

DisruptMining Innovation Expo

The #DisruptMining Innovation Expo will showcase the semi-finalists and other game-changing innovators who will demonstrate how they can help the mining industry accelerate the pace of technological advancement.

"Shark-Tank" Style Live Finale

Finalists will pitch their competing innovations to a "shark-tank" style panel of cross-industry titans and the winner will have the opportunity to negotiate up to $1 million* in investment for a proof of concept at one of Goldcorp's mines or direct investment in the winning technologies. More than 500 mining executives, investors and financiers will be in attendance, each looking for that one revolutionary idea that will get them to the future of mining, faster.

Partner with #DisruptMining Challenge

Are you committed to championing innovation in the mining industry? Would you like to be showcased at the #DisruptMining Challenge, one of Canada's largest gatherings for mining innovation? To learn how to become a sponsor of this trailblazing challenge and event, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or connect on social media via #DisruptMining.

Proceeds from the #DisruptMining finale event will invest in the future of the mining industry through innovation-focused scholarships.

DisruptMining Challenge Timeline

    Monday, November 5, 2018: Deadline for submissions.
    Friday, December 14, 2018: Selected disruptors notified.
    Sunday, March 3, 2019: #DisruptMining Innovation Expo and Live Finale

For more information and to review full submission details, please visit:

About Goldcorp

Goldcorp is a senior gold producer focused on responsible mining practices with safe, low-cost production from a high-quality portfolio of mines.

ALROSA, the world's largest diamond mining company, has sold special size rough diamonds (over 10.8 carats) at the auction in Vladivostok.

In total, the company sold 108 gem-quality lots with total weight of 2,003 carats. Overall revenue from sales amounted to $12.6 million.

76 companies from Russia, mainland China, Hong Kong, the US, Israel, Belgium, India and UAE took part in the auction.

“The Far East is still of strategic interest for us in terms of expanding cooperation with China, and we traditionally invite companies from this country to participate in our auctions. The auctions in Vladivostok are particularly successful this year. We sold more than 100 diamonds of excellent quality at the latest auction, and got a good premium to the starting price. We plan to hold the next auction in Vladivostok in late October - early November,” Evgeny Agureev, the Member of the Executive committee, Director of the United Selling Organization of ALROSA, commented on the results.

ALROSA branch in Vladivostok was established in 2016 by the decision of the Company’s Supervisory Board with the purpose of development of the Eurasian Diamond Centre in the territory of the Free Port of Vladivostok. The branch sold the first rough diamonds at the EDC in August-September of 2016.

Newmont Mining Corporation announced that for an unprecedented fourth year running, the Company was named the Metals and Mining sector leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World).

Newmont was the first gold company named to the index in 2007, and has been included on the DJSI North America Index every year since 2006.

“This recognition is an important reflection of how well we are doing to create value and improve lives for all of our stakeholders,” said Gary Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Employees at our sites around the globe know that leading in profitability and responsibility go hand-in-hand, and that their day-to-day work can have positive and lasting impacts on local communities. Our focus is on the long-term success of our company and doing that requires integrating sustainability into all aspects of our business.”

In addition to being recognized as the Metals and Mining sector’s sustainability leader, Newmont achieved outstanding performance in a number of areas including 100th percentile in the following:

  • Economic: Corporate Governance, Risk and Crisis Management, and Policy Influence
  • Environmental: Biodiversity, Climate Strategy, and Water-related Risks
  • Social: Labor Practice Indicators, Human Rights, Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy, and Asset Closure Management

As one of the most rigorous and highly regarded sustainability indices in the world, RobecoSAM evaluated 600 data points for nearly 2,100 companies to determine inclusion and ranking on the DJSI. Areas evaluated included corporate governance; risk and crisis management; supply chain management; climate strategy; human rights; talent attraction and retention; safety; environmental management and performance; codes of business conduct; local community development; and labor practices.

More information on Newmont's safety, economic, environmental and social performance can be found in the company's annual sustainability report, Beyond the Mine. The report is published as part of Newmont’s ongoing obligations as a founding member of the International Council on Mining and Metals and in accordance with the company’s commitments under the United Nations' Global Compact and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

About Newmont

Newmont is a leading gold and copper producer. The Company’s operations are primarily in the United States, Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname. Newmont is the only gold producer listed in the S&P 500 Index and was named the mining industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Company is an industry leader in value creation, supported by its leading technical, environmental, social and safety performance. Newmont was founded in 1921 and has been publicly traded since 1925.

Huge haul trucks, with a capacity of 240 tons, circulate on the roads of a large mining area without operators in the cabins. Controlled only by computer systems, GPS, radars and artificial intelligence, the vehicles move efficiently between the mining front and the unloading area. What sounds like a futuristic film is the reality that begins to appear in the Brucutu mine owned by Vale in Minas Gerais.

The result of six years of research and testing, seven trucks used to transport iron ore from the mining front to the processing plant began to be part of the daily operations alongside six other traditionally operated vehicles. When the entire fleet is replaced by trucks with the new technology, in early 2019, Brucutu will be the first mine to operate autonomously in Brazil.

Compared to the conventional transportation model, the autonomous operations system has a higher productivity. The productivity of haul trucks has significant gains. Autonomous operation also increases the life of the equipment, leads to less wear of parts and reduced maintenance costs.

Based on technological market data, Vale expects to obtain an increase of around 15% in the equipments lifespan. Fuel
consumption and maintenance costs are expected to decrease 10% and the average speed of trucks are expected to increase.

The autonomous operation also brings relevant environmental benefits. The economy of fuel used in the machines results in lower volume of CO2 and particulate emissions.

"The use of this type of technology is increasing in the world market, not only in the mining area. The use of autonomous equipment will bring gains in productivity and competitiveness for Vale and the Brazilian industry", says Lúcio Cavalli, Ferrous Planning and Development Director.

New opportunities

People continue to play an important role in autonomous operation. The teams that supervise the entire process can be comfortably installed kilometers away from the operations.

Brucutu's equipment operators were moved to other functions in the mine itself or other Vale units in the region. Part of the team was used in the management and control of autonomous equipment, after having undergone training courses, which can last up to two years.

With greater use of autonomous equipment Vale is likely to create more opportunities for highly qualified professionals in the technical and engineering areas of automation, robotics and Information technology in the operational areas.


With less people present in mining activities, where there is movement of heavy vehicles and large volumes of cargo, the employees' exposure to accident risks is reduced.

The technology used in the trucks can identify obstacles and changes that were not foreseen in the path determined by the control center. Upon detecting any risks, the equipment will shut down until the path is cleared again. The safety system is able to detect both larger objects such as large rocks and other trucks and also any people that are in the vicinity of the road.

The experience with autonomous equipment in Brucutu will help Vale to determine the future of the use of technology in other operations. Conversion from a mine to an autonomous operation requires significant investment, so mines with a low production volume would continue to use the traditional system. "We will carefully evaluate the results and feasibility for other operations and processes, but the prospects are promising", says Lúcio Cavalli.

Vale in Industry 4.0

Vale began implementing a digital transformation program in 2016 to adapt itself to Industry 4.0, which will allow the company to promote the integration between the business areas around the world, reduce costs, simplify processes, increase productivity and operational efficiency, and achieve the highest levels of health and safety. The program is based on four pillars: Analytics, integrated systems and chains, robotization and autonomous equipment. The company is using Internet of Things, Advanced Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and mobile applications, among other technological innovations.

About Vale

Vale is a global mining company that has the mission to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development.  World leader in iron ore and nickel production, Vale is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is present in five continents.  It operates integrated logistics systems, with about 2,000 km of railways, maritime terminals and 10 ports in Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Oman.  Committed to the highest levels of governance, Vale supports 52 social and cultural projects in 65 Brazilian municipalities, through the Vale Foundation, and protects or helps to protect 8,500 km2  of native areas in the country.

Vale Canada Limited announced the completion of its CAD $1 billion (USD 792 million) Clean AER (Atmospheric Emission Reduction Project) with a celebration near its Smelter Complex in Sudbury, Ontario.

“The completion of our Clean AER Project is a historic milestone that demonstrates how far we have come as a company in reducing our environmental footprint,” said Ricus Grimbeek, Chief Operating Officer of Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals
Operations and Asian Refineries. “It is something that all of us at Vale and our local community can be very proud of.”

Vale’s Clean AER Project is the largest single environmental investment in Sudbury’s history, achieving an 85% reduction in previous sulphur dioxide emissions and a 40% reduction in metal particulate emissions.

Work began in 2012 and included the construction of two new converters, a wet gas cleaning plant, a new secondary baghouse and fan building and reconstruction of the smelter converter flues. Due to close coordination between the project and operations, this construction took place safely while the Copper Cliff Smelter continued to operate.

“Emissions are so significantly reduced by the Clean AER Project that we will no longer require our iconic Superstack,” said Dave Stefanuto, Vale’s Vice President of North Atlantic Projects. “The eventual decommissioning of the Superstack is a symbol of environmental progress for our Company and the mining industry as a whole.”

Two new 137 metre (450 foot) stacks are currently being constructed in the Copper Cliff Smelter, which will require far less energy to operate than the Superstack and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Smelter by approximately 40%. Following construction of the concrete shells, steel liners will be installed in the new stacks in 2019. In 2020, the Superstack’s steel liner will be removed and the Superstack will be taken out of service and placed into care and maintenance. It is expected that removal of the concrete shell will begin thereafter and continue over several years.

In addition to its positive environmental impact, the Clean AER Project generated tremendous local economic benefit for local suppliers and the community, with approximately 550 construction jobs generated.

Vale is one of the world’s largest mining companies, present across five continents. Vale is also the world’s largest producer of nickel, with our Base Metals business headquartered in Toronto. Operating in Canada for more than 100 years, our Canadian operations produce nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum group metals, gold and silver. Vale’s operations in Sudbury are home to one of the largest integrated mining complexes in the world with five mines, a mill, a smelter and a nickel refinery. For more information, please visit:

Here’s what community and industry leaders are saying about the completion of the Clean AER Project:

“Congratulations to Vale on this fantastic private-sector project that will significantly reduce emissions from its Sudbury Smelter Complex. This private investment created hundreds of jobs in Northern Ontario and will benefit the local environment for years to come.”   

- Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs

“In a generation, Sudbury has gone from the pollution capital of Canada to one of the most innovative mining clusters in the world, pioneering the technology that is building and sustaining the next generation of mines. Sudbury is a shining example that a strong economy and healthy environment go hand in hand, and Vale continues to lead by example.”

-Paul Lefebvre, Sudbury MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources

“I commend Vale for their remarkable efforts in reducing their environmental footprint and for their commitment to making our community a better place to live for generations to come. The Clean AER Project is a shining example that collaborations between industry, government and pro-environment organizations are possible and are happening! This program will protect the environment and continue to grow our mining industry while fostering job creation.”

- Marc Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt

"Not only is this the single largest environmental investment in our City’s history but proof of how the mining sector is working with our community to move forward in improving our environment and making operations sustainable and safer for the long-term. Greater Sudbury’s Mining and Mining Service & Supply Sector continues to demonstrate why we are home to the most resourceful, sustainable and innovative mining cluster in the world."

Brian Bigger, Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury

“This doesn’t just help the future of the environment around Sudbury. It helps protect the climate of the planet. Bravo."  

- Dr. David Pearson, Co-Director of the Science Communication program and Professor of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University

Rio Tinto has been recognised at the 2018 Women in Resources National Awards (WIRNA) for its commitment to gender diversity and breaking the cycle of violence against women.

At an awards breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra this morning, Rio Tinto was named winner of the Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance Award while Brisbane-based employee Rachel Durdin was named winner of the Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources category.  

Rio Tinto became the first global mining company in Australia to receive White Ribbon workplace accreditation earlier this year led by Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh.

“I’m proud of the progress we’re seeing in diversity and inclusion across our company. Our White Ribbon workplace accreditation reflects a commitment to creating a safe, gender equal and respectful place to work.

“We all have a role to play in encouraging inclusion across the resources sector, enabling people to feel supported to perform at their best,” Stephen said.

Rio Tinto general manager of Growth & Innovation Project Shaping Rachel Durdin was recognised for her  significant role in advocating for women in the mining industry. She was instrumental in driving Rio Tinto’s family and domestic violence response and achievement of its White Ribbon workplace accreditation.

“It has been a long journey but I’m so pleased with how far we have come in achieving real change for women in our sector. While there’s a long way to go, we are headed in the right direction by providing safe and supportive workplaces and continued opportunities for women in all types of roles across our business,” Rachel said.

The Inclusion Network at Rio Tinto’s Weipa Operations in far north Queensland, was highly commended in the Excellence in Diversity Programmes and Performance category for championing a workforce inclusive of female and Indigenous employees.

Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation strategic mine planning manager Jo-Anne Dudley was also highly commended in the Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources category for developing strategies to promote the entry of women into engineering. Rio Tinto Gove Operations general manager Linda Murry was recognised as a finalist in the Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources category.

Energy Resources Australia (ERA) emergency services officer Katrina Bangay was awarded the Special Judges Award (Industry Contribution) in the Outstanding Australian Trade, Operator or Technician category. She was also a finalist in the Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources category and ERA was a finalist in the Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance category.

WIRNA is organised in partnership between the Minerals Council of Australia, Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, NSW Minerals Council, South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council and Queensland Resources Council.

White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation

The White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program recognises workplaces that are taking active steps to stop violence against women, accrediting them as a White Ribbon Workplace.

White Ribbon Workplaces engender a whole of organisation commitment to stop violence against women, meeting 15 criteria under three standards to create a safer and more respectful workplace.

The program builds on existing gender equality and diversity initiatives, providing the tools to strengthen a culture of respect and gender equality at all levels of the organisation. The program supports organisations to respond to and prevent violence against women, whether it occurs inside or outside the organisation, through supporting women experiencing violence, holding perpetrators to account, supporting all employees to challenge inappropriate behaviour and strengthening gender equality within the broader community.

The Workplace Accreditation Program is internationally recognised and has reached over 600,000 employees nationally. The program has been independently evaluated and referenced by a group of HR, human rights, domestic violence and education professionals, ensuring a best practice product. For further information:

About Rachel Durdin

Rachel has worked across a number of industries in both the private and public sector. She has held accountability for delivering varied business outcomes including project delivery, business improvements and mergers and acquisitions. She is currently Rio Tinto’s Growth and Innovation Project Shaping general manager working with product groups to identify acceptable project boundaries and scope aligned with the company’s strategy, priorities, and values. Rachel actively supports Rio Tinto's membership on the Australian Male Champions of Change group which is set up to materially shift the balance for gender equality in Australia. Her role is to leverage the membership and the work of other organisations to ensure Rio Tinto is an equal and safe workplace for all employees. She was also instrumental in Rio Tinto’s recent achievement of becoming a White Ribbon Accredited Workplace.

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