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WA poised to become Silicon Valley of mining innovation, says Rio Tinto

10th April 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has forged a strategic partnership with a global venture studio and startup investor, Founders Factory, to catalyse the development and commercialisation of breakthrough technologies in the mining industry.

Over the next three years, Rio Tinto will inject  A$14.4-million in global pre-seed and seed stage startups, with a specific focus on safe mine operations, decarbonisation, exploration processing and automation.

Rio Tinto CEO of Iron Ore Simon Trott envisions Western Australia as “the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry”, emphasising the role of technology in driving industry progress.

“Technology has always been at the forefront of our industry and Western Australia can be the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry,” said Trott.

Each selected startup will not only receive a cash investment, but also benefit from a four-month accelerator programme led by Founders Factory. This initiative aims to provide critical support for product development and commercialisation, propelling ideas from concept to market reality.

Moreover, the Western Australian government has joined forces with Founders Factory to invest in nature-tech startups dedicated to preserving and restoring nature and biodiversity.

Trott said the collaboration between Rio Tinto and the proactive support from the Western Australian government would create fertile ground for local and international startups to thrive.

“With the backing of industry and the state government, local and international startups will receive investment opportunities and access to real-world testing and scaling support, helping Western Australia’s innovation economy to grow,” he said.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook echoed the sentiment, hailing the arrival of Founders Factory in Perth as a “major coup” for the state.

“This is the first time the tech accelerator has operated in Australia, providing a springboard for innovative local businesses to reach an international audience and maximise their chances of success,” said Cook.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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