Rio Tinto Board visits Northparkes Mines

Northparkes Mines this week hosted a rare visit of the Rio Tinto board, including the Rio Tinto Chief Executive Tom Albanese and Chairman, Jan du Plessis.

Managing Director Stef Loader said the Rio Tinto Board visit was ‘an extremely successful day.’

“The aim of the visit was to increase the Board’s understanding of our underground block cave mining and the safety and operational challenges associated with this mining technique,” Mrs Loader said.

“We also showcased Northparkes’ 17 years’ experience of block caving knowledge and capability and demonstrated how the operation is sharing this with other Rio Tinto operations to create safer and more efficient underground mines across Rio Tinto.

“Another important component of the visit was that we were able to demonstrate our relationship with the local community through having the Mayors and Deputy Mayors of Parkes and Forbes Shire Councils join the board for part of the site visit during the day.

“The board really welcomed the chance to interact with the local mayors and deputy mayors to discuss the opportunities for the local community.

Councillor Ken Keith, Mayor, Parkes Shire Council said the Rio Tinto board visit only a few sites each year and it is fantastic that they have visited Northparkes Mines and the Parkes community to see first-hand  how Northparkes is using the Block cave knowledge centre to develop the people of Rio Tinto in underground block cave mining and learn more about the business’s overall performance.  

The board arrived at Parkes airport on Tuesday morning and were greeted by the Northparkes graduates and Caitlin Turnbull, a year 6 student at Middleton Public School who led the Welcome to Country.

Michele Herbert, Principal, Middleton Public School said that she was proud that  Middleton Public school were involved in the Rio Tinto board visit and it was a great opportunity for one of our students to welcome the visitors to the Parkes and Forbes communities in Wiradjuri language.

At Northparkes, the management team provided a briefing on Northparkes’ business and operational performance from the top of the Rill Tower, above the ore stockpiles.  The board members then enjoyed a lunch with the people of Northparkes before doing a tour of the underground mine in the afternoon.

Stef Loader said the feedback from the board has been extremely positive.

“During the visit, one Board member told me that this was the best mine visit he had been on in five years with Rio Tinto. That is a comment Northparkes can be very proud of! 

“[Chief Executive] Tom Albanese also specifically asked me to pass on his view that our pride in our work was visible in our workplace, particularly in the housekeeping which is among the best he has ever seen.

“The last time the Rio Tinto board visited Northparkes was in 2005 and many noticed the changes that have been made since then especially in regards to the important role that technology plays in making our operations safer and more productive.

“The board were also very interested in learning how the technology developed at Northparkes will be shared with other Rio Tinto operations including Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.

“The success of the board visit is a testament to the hard work of the team at Northparkes. 

Rio Tinto Board members during an inspection of Northparkes Mines.

Rio Tinto Board members during an inspection of Northparkes Mines.