HomeAustraliaRio Tinto to Invest AUS AUS14.4M in Tech Startups

Rio Tinto to Invest AUS AUS14.4M in Tech Startups

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Rio Tinto, a British Australian global mining group that focuses on finding, mining and processing the Earth’s mineral resources, is teaming up with Founders Factory, a London, UK-based global venture studio and startup investor, to back the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies in the mining industry.

Rio Tinto will invest A$14.4m in global pre-seed and seed stage start-ups over the next three years. The focus will be on technologies in the fields of safe mine operations, decarbonisation, exploration processing and automation.

Each start-up will receive a cash investment and participate in a four-month accelerator program run by Founders Factory to support product development and commercialisation. The Western Australian Government has also partnered with Founders Factory to invest in nature-tech startups that preserve and restore nature and biodiversity.

The partnerships with Rio Tinto and the Western Australian Government will support the first Australian hub of Founders Factory in Perth, Western Australia, boosting the state’s innovation credentials. Founders Factory operates in London, Johannesburg, Milan, Berlin, Bratislava, New York and Singapore.

Commenting on the announcement, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott said: “Technology has always been at the forefront of our industry and Western Australia can be the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry. Our iron ore operations in the Pilbara are among the most technologically advanced in the world. This exciting new partnership gives us the opportunity to build on our innovative legacy to unlock new technologies and help our business find better ways to provide the materials the world needs. With the backing of industry and the State Government, local and international start-ups will receive investment opportunities and access to real-world testing and scaling support, helping Western Australia’s innovation economy to grow.

This program is complementary to Rio Tinto’s existing corporate venture capital activities which commenced in 2021.