Rio Tinto Energy & Minerals
What is your strategy for Rio Tinto Energy &
Minerals as CEO?
Currently, Rio Tinto mines and refines in 14 countries on
five continents across six sectors: borates, coal, iron ore
concentrate and pellets, salt, uranium and titanium dioxide
(TiO2) (and co-products such as high purity iron,
steel, metal powders and zircon). The materials we mine and
produce are essential for driving innovation in the sectors
which connect the world the most: transportation,
communications and technology. And without our products, we
wouldn’t have, for example, low cost smart phone
technology that is central to the world’s
We are stewarding new growth opportunities for Rio Tinto by
scanning the world for new smaller-scale investments in
commodities and types of orebodies that may benefit from
megatrend-driven discontinuities in supply, demand or value
chain structure. Being market-led, we will continue to use our
in-depth understanding of our industry to create and grow
markets for products that will address these mega-trends.
Importantly, as we operate in over 14 countries, with three
operations in Africa alone, we will focus on creating
partnerships with mutual benefit, contributing to the growth of
communities and the prosperity of local people wherever we are
How has your past experience prepared you for this
I believe diverse experience is essential to leadership.
This diversity can manifest itself in many forms: living and
working in different countries, having different educational
experiences, working in different roles both within and outside
your industry, being exposed to different leadership styles
– the list goes on. I also believe that working as an
investment banker with the private equity industry enabled me
to learn and gain exposure to many different industries,
management teams, value creation approaches and continue to
stay curious and learn.
What mineral markets do you expect to drive the
Energy & Minerals division in the coming
The best thing about leading Rio Tinto Energy & Minerals
is how relevant – or even essential – the
materials we produce are to human progress and future trends.
We expect many of our existing products to have positive future
outlooks. Things like borates, salt, TiO2 and zircon
will likely be all the more in demand as our society advances
and we see rising levels of income and consumption growth in
These materials are the building blocks of modern life and
will be critical to meeting the challenges of the future. Some
of them are quite remarkable. Borates, for example, is used to
produce the fertilisers and micronutrients that will help
farmers increase crop quality and yield and are also a core
ingredient in the glass used for touchscreen phones and LCD
We also see a big future for lithium with demand growth
being supported by the increasing use of rechargeable batteries
in electric vehicles and on-going demand in traditional
industrial segments. It’s likely to have a
material role in the future Energy and Minerals business. We
have discovered the largest hard-rock lithium deposit in
the world, which could supply a significant proportion of
global lithium demand. This project is called Jadar and is
located in Serbia. Jadar could be central to a more
energy-efficient world and will see Li-B enter the Rio
Tinto portfolio for the first time in our history.
How is Rio Tinto Energy & Minerals dealing with
the current weak pricing dynamic in the TiO2
Prices have declined considerably across the TiO2
market which has undeniably impacted the financial strength of
many participants in the industry. Despite this weak pricing
(and demand) environment, RTIT has been able to operate
profitably whilst others in the industry have been making
significant losses. Our resilience is built on three pillars:
our strategy of aligning production with demand, our relentless
efforts to drive unnecessary costs out of the business and our
efficiency improvement programs. We have also responded to the
market by increasing our sales and technical support to our
Chinese customers who are increasingly demanding the higher
grade products which we produce.*
What do you do in your spare time?
The thing I enjoy the most during my spare time is spending
time with my family. I do also enjoy the occasional fishing
Auroch Minerals Limited
James Bahen has been appointed company secretary, following
Matthew Foy’s resignation.
Bacanora Minerals Ltd.
Andreas Antonius and Junichi Tomono have been appointed as
non-executive directors of the company, replacing James Leahy
and Kian Morzaria who resigned earlier this year.
Takashi Nishimura will be product manager of
Freeman’s new Japan operation.
Tom Fedolak has been appointed as business development
manager for the US market.
Hastings Technology Metals
Kok Hoong Leong has been appointed as project director for
the Yangibana Rare Earths Project.
LiCo Energy Metals Inc.
Francisco Pimentel has been appointed to the Technical
Advisory Board of LiCo.
Professor John Humphrey has been appointed as a
non-executive director, replacing Jake Klein.
Morgan Advanced Materials plc
Jane Aikman has been appointed as a non-executive director
with effect from 31 July 2017 to chair the audit committee. Rob
Rowley, currently chairing the audit committee, is set to step
down on the same date.
Noront Resources Ltd
Three new directors have been appointed: Greg Rickford, the
former Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, Jean Paul Gladu,
President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal
Business and Bo Liu, senior manager at Global Resource
Vanguard Potash Corp.
Vanguard has appointed five directors to its board: Gagan
Goel, EGME chairman & managing director; Punkaj Gupta,
joint managing director & group CEO at EGME; Manoj Kumar
Palaria, EGME general manager; Dwayne Dahl, director at
Gensource; and Mike Ferguson, the President and CEO of