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Fact sheet
Rio Tinto fact sheet
Our energy business
Rio Tinto is a leading international
business involved in each stage
of metal and mineral production.
The Group combines Rio Tinto plc,
which is listed on the London
Stock Exchange, and Rio Tinto
Limited, which is listed on the
Australian Securities Exchange.
As part of its portfolio Rio Tinto We want to ensure the sustainable
produces coal and uranium; two future use of coal and uranium
important sources of energy from as energy sources, and so we are
mining. We produce coal in Australia investing in various technologies
and the US and uranium in Namibia and areas of research that are
and Australia, which we sell to furthering this cause.
worldwide markets.
Burning coal is a major contributor
Rio Tinto is one of the world’s major to man made greenhouse gases.
producers of export thermal coal, Rio Tinto has accepted the challenge,
used for electricity generation in with other producers and governments,
power stations. Electrifcation is to implement low emission technologies
a key aspect of development, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse
developing countries in particular gases to the atmosphere from the
rely on the affordable electricity that combustion of coal.
coal provides. We also produce coking
coal for steel making.
Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest
producers of uranium. This uranium
is used exclusively for the generation
of nuclear electricity. We follow strict
security measures to ensure our
uranium products are used only
for peaceful purposes.
Rio Tinto produces coal (pictured) in
Australia and the US, and uranium
in Namibia and Australia.Energy
Rio Tinto fact sheet
To ensure that coal remains a valuable long term
energy source for the world, coal producers and
users need to minimise the effects of burning
coal, and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide
emissions from power plants.
Producing coal Using coal
Coal is formed from plants that grew on Earth millions of Rio Tinto Energy produces two types of coal – thermal
years ago. As the plants died, and became buried beneath coal and coking coal:
the Earth’s surface, they were exposed to heat, pressure
and chemical reactions that turned them into coal. The • Thermal coal: this is also known as steam coal. It is
world’s currently identifed coal reserves can meet present primarily used to generate electricity in power stations.
levels of demand for about 200 years. The energy released when the coal is burned is used
to turn water into steam, which drives turbines that
Coal is mined either from open pit mines at the Earth’s generate electricity. We produce low sulphur coal,
surface, or in underground mines. Once extracted, it is which helps our customers meet their requirements
sized and blended according to our customers’ needs, for low sulphur dioxide emissions.
then loaded into trains to be delivered or exported.
• Coking coal: this is also known as metallurgical coal
and is mainly used in making steel. It is a higher value
product than thermal coal. Coking coal supplies both
heat and carbon to the process that converts iron ore
into steel.
To ensure that coal remains a valuable long term energy
source for the world, coal producers and users need to
minimise the effects of burning coal, and reduce the
amount of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Rio Tinto’s Energy group is involved in various initiatives
to help secure coal’s future as an energy source. These
include support for numerous research and demonstration
projects including the COAL21 programme in Australia.
Coal is mined either from open
pit mines at the Earth’s surface,
or in underground mines.

Rio Tinto fact sheet
Rio Tinto fact sheet
We have a number of brownfeld and greenfeld
opportunities that will help meet rising demand
for coal and energy.
Our coal operations US operations Our coal projects
In 2007, Rio Tinto announced its
Rio Tinto’s coal operations are in decision to explore divestment of We have a number of brownfeld
eastern Australia and the western US. Rio Tinto Energy America (RTEA). At and greenfeld opportunities that
that time, RTEA owned and operated will help meet rising demand for
Australian operations four coal mines in the US’s Powder coal and energy.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia (RTCA) River Basin of Montana and Wyoming
is a wholly owned subsidiary of (Jacobs Ranch, Antelope, Spring • Rio Tinto Coal Australia
Rio Tinto. RTCA manages Rio Tinto Creek and Cordero Rojo), and held – Kestrel: a mine extension plan,
Energy’s coal mines in Queensland: a 50 per cent interest in the Decker forecast to be in production
Blair Athol (Rio Tinto: 71 per cent), coal mine. RTEA also owned the in late 2012/early 2013, will
Clermont (50.1 per cent), with coal Colowyo mine in Colorado. help meet Asian demand for
production commencing early 2010, metallurgical coal.
Kestrel (80 per cent), and Hail Creek Colowyo Coal, a Rio Tinto managed
(82 per cent). operation, was separated from RTEA • Coal & Allied
in 2008 because it was not part of – Mount Pleasant: the company
Upon reaching full capacity, the asset divestment programme. is currently reviewing the
scheduled for 2013, Clermont 2008 engineering feasibility
will become Australia’s largest coal In 2009, Rio Tinto sold Jacobs Ranch. study to update the economic
producer. Production from Clermont In the same year, Rio Tinto formed assumptions and technical design
will replace that from Blair Athol. Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and launched considerations for this coal mine
an initial public offering (IPO) as a project next to the Bengalla mine.
RTCA also provides management way of divesting Antelope, Spring Coal & Allied is in the process
services to, and owns 75.7 per cent Creek and Cordero Rojo, as well as the of identifying modifcations
of, Coal & Allied, which mines stake in the Decker mine. Rio Tinto that may be required to the
coal in New South Wales. Coal & has retained an interest of 48 per cent existing regulatory consents
Allied wholly owns the Hunter in Cloud Peak. and approvals, and proceeding
Valley Operations mines and has to apply for those remaining
partial ownership of other mines regulatory consents and
in the region: Bengalla (Rio Tinto: approvals needed to progress
30.3 per cent), Mount Thorley the proposed development of
(60.6 per cent) and Warkworth Mount Pleasant.
(42.1 per cent). Rio Tinto Coal – Project work is continuing to
Australia’s deposits contain a examine opportunities to expand
mixture of thermal and coking coal. production at the Bengalla Mine
and to extend the mining life of
Mount Thorley and Warkworth.
Colowyo coal mine supplies electricity
generators in the south west US.
Kestrel mine in Australia, where an
expansion project will help meet
Asian coal demand.

Rio Tinto fact sheet
Rio Tinto fact sheet
Rio Tinto fact sheet
Uranium’s chemical properties
can be harnessed to produce
electricity without the generation
of carbon dioxide.
Producing uranium Using uranium
Uranium, a metallic element, is one Uranium oxide is transformed into
of the most powerful natural sources nuclear fuel through processes called
of energy. Its chemical properties can conversion and enrichment. The
be harnessed to produce electricity resultant nuclear fuel rods are then
without the generation of inserted into a nuclear reactor to
carbon dioxide. produce energy.
At Rio Tinto’s uranium mines, Nuclear energy is generated by the
ore is blasted and transported to splitting of uranium atoms, a process
a processing facility where it is that releases a large amount of heat.
crushed to the size of fne sand. This heat is then used to convert
Uranium is dissolved from the rock water into high temperature steam,
using sulphuric acid, manganese and which in turn drives the turbines
iron oxide. It is then recovered from in a generator to produce electricity.
the solution in a number of stages.
The uranium is extracted using an Nuclear energy is an important form
organic liquor; the organic liquor of low carbon emitting electricity
is then stripped using ammonium generation. The lifecycle carbon
sulphate to concentrate the uranium emissions arising from nuclear power
for precipitation. Gaseous ammonia are comparable with solar and wind
is added to form a solid called yellow power. The world is currently seeing
cake, which is centrifuged and roasted signifcant growth in nuclear power
to produce uranium oxide powder. as governments grapple with the
This powder is the product that challenge of reducing greenhouse
Rio Tinto supplies to its customers. gas emissions.
Uranium, produced at Rössing
and ERA (pictured) is used for the
generation of nuclear energy.Energy
Rio Tinto fact sheet
Our uranium operations Our uranium projectsWe’re able to
Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest We’re able to help meet rising help meet rising
uranium producers, operating the demand for nuclear power by
second and third largest uranium increasing production from our demand for
mines in the world and representing existing uranium operations.
about 16 per cent of global supply. nuclear power
Rio Tinto Energy has interests in • Energy Resources of Australia:
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd currently seeking approval for by increasing
(ERA) (Rio Tinto: 68 per cent) and the establishment of a heap leach
Rössing Uranium Ltd in facility at the Ranger mine. The production from
Namibia (69 per cent). project targets the production of
15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of uranium our existing
Energy Resources of Australia oxide from low grade ore between
ERA owns and operates the Ranger 2013 and the end of 2020. ERA uranium
mine, 260km east of Darwin, is also conducting a feasibility
Northern Territory. Ranger is the study into the construction of operations.
second largest uranium mine in the an exploration decline that will
world and has been operating since enable close spaced drilling of the
1980. ERA sells its products to power Ranger 3 Deeps deposit.
utilities in Japan, South Korea, China,
Europe and North America, for the • Rössing Uranium: a pilot project for
generation of nuclear electricity. a heap leach facility is in progress
In 2009, ERA sold its one hundred which together with proposed
thousandth tonne of uranium oxide improvements to the plant will
since the start of production. Rössing signifcantly increase capacity.
is the only other uranium mine to There are also a number of resources
have reached this benchmark. surrounding the Rössing deposit
which may provide expansion
ERA also owns the Jabiluka deposit, opportunities in the future.
the second largest undeveloped
uranium deposit in the world.
Rössing Uranium A haul truck driver trains in a simulator at
Rössing Uranium produces uranium Rössing, one of the largest uranium mines
in the world.oxide from its open pit mine in the
RightNamib Desert, and exports it from
A maths and science learning centre
Namibia to power utilities globally.
established by the Rössing Foundation,
Exploration has given confdence that which undertakes community
the mine could operate until 2020. development activities in Namibia.

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