Rio joins the space race

14th February 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Major Rio Tinto has joined the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) consortium, a not-for-profit, industry-led consortium with a vision for Australia to be the trusted leader of remote operations on Earth and in space.

The ever-expanding consortium includes organisations from various industry sectors, such as resources, energy, research and members of Australia’s burgeoning space sector, which collaborate on targeted, industry-led projects.

AROSE CEO Leanne Cunnold said the consortium was very pleased to have Rio onboard and looked forward to working with the leading-edge mining company.

“Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest and most innovative mining companies with extensive experience and ground-breaking expertise in remote operations,” Cunnold said.

“Having members such as Rio Tinto, who are at the cutting edge of remote operations, means the collective knowledge of the AROSE consortium has grown significantly. Currently AROSE is working on the Lunar Service Rover Feasibility Study for the Australian Space Agency.

“This study is the first step in building an Australian-made lunar rover to be deployed during Nasa’s exciting return to the Moon in the coming years. The rover is being designed to collect lunar soil, which will be processed to extract oxygen to enable a sustained lunar presence and so support Nasa’s Artemis project of returning to the Moon.

“Rio Tinto is now part of helping Australian know-how to get to the Moon and those advancements will also benefit industries and economies back here on Earth just as the original Nasa space missions did so many decades ago.”

Rio chief scientist Nigel Steward said the company was looking forward to collaborating with other AROSE consortium members on advancing Australia’s world-leading position in remote operations.

“We are proud and excited to be the newest member of AROSE and are looking forward to contributing to the programmes supported by AROSE,” he said.

“Our knowledge and experience spans a broad skill base and our team is well-positioned to support the application of robotics, automation and remote operations. We are also looking forward to learning more from other members to understand how we can improve what we do at our operations today as we deliver the materials needed to help address climate change and support the associated energy transition.”

The Australian government is aiming to triple the size of the nation’s space sector by 2030, adding an additional A$12-billion to the economy and up to 20 000 new jobs.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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