Rio Tinto and iGATE Patni have opened a state-of-the-art Rio Tinto Innovation Center (RTIC) in Pune, India, to support global growth and development of Rio Tinto’s “Mine of the Future” program. The RTIC will provide Rio Tinto with engineering research and development services, including industrial automation and control, software and embedded design and development, and general engineering services. The center will build on work done by Rio Tinto’s established “Centers of Excellence” in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, and will have an initial operating time frame of five years.

RTIC will provide engineering skills to help drive innovation through to implementation at an operational level. It will take ideas that have been developed at the other Rio Tinto research centers and trialed in a specific mine or business unit, and modify the technology for use with other products or in different regions. It will have about 300 employees, mainly engineers, and will focus on disciplines such as image processing, advanced data mining and analytics, automation and control systems, design, and logistics.

iGATE Patni CEO Phaneesh Murthy said, “We are truly delighted that Rio Tinto has chosen iGATE Patni as its exclusive partner for this landmark innovation engagement. I am particularly pleased that our capabilities in product engineering services have gained increased acceptance among global companies to bring about innovation in their business, and this partnership is an important step in our journey to deliver high-impact business outcomes.

Rio Tinto Head of Innovation John McGagh said, “This partnership will enable us to move our innovations from concept stage to reality more efficiently through the work of a dedicated team of specialized engineers. iGATE Patni’s credentials and business capability fit our need for a strong, outcomes-driven innovation partner.

“RTIC will allow us to take a specific technology developed at one of our Centers of Excellence, such as the mine automation system currently in use at our Pilbara iron ore operations in Western Australia, and adapt it for broader application across our network of mines.”