Do you have an idea or technology that could transform the mining and metals industry?

We are seeking out original ideas, from the unproven to those ready to deploy. Your idea should address a collaboration opportunity relevant to our business. In turn, we may support you with funding, laboratory and research space, professional coaching, access to operations, or if it is a product purchase.

Pioneer with us

Rio Tinto is looking for innovative solutions that will help us pioneer progress. We supply minerals and metals that are essential to everyday life, but we need to continue to innovate and evolve our practices.

We want your innovative ideas and solutions to some of our current business challenges. Whether you’re a start-up entrepreneur or an existing business, with small-scale ideas or proven solutions and technology. We know that we’re stronger when we work together.

The Rio Tinto Pioneer Portal gives you a platform to be heard and potentially deliver real value to our business.



Through our business we have some immediate business challenges in need of solutions:


Weipa tyre disposal


Rio Tinto is seeking a solution to the disposal of used tyres from mining machinery. The solution we are seeking should be safe, environmentally sound and cost effective considering the remote location of many of our facilities.

Our haulage fleet of more than 500 units relies on pneumatic tyres. Each tyre costs tens of thousands of dollars. While each tyre may last over two years, this represents a considerable disposal issue.

A typical tyre will have a height greater than 3 metres and weigh in excess of five tonnes. The main components of which are:

  • Rubber 60%
  • Steel 20%
  • Other 20%


We are seeking solutions to dispose of or recycle the used tyres. The initial target site is Weipa, which is very remote making transportation costs high. Therefore, the ideal solution could involve facilities on site.

We estimate that more than 98% of every tyre can be recycled. Tyres have a calorific value of over 7000kCal/kg and a single five tonne tyre could have the potential to generate over 2,000 litres of oil (which could be used as a fuel source). While this seems attractive, making this economically viable, ethical, and environmentally safe in a remote location creates a challenge.

We are looking for technologies and partners to help us explore new solutions. Depending upon the feasibility, costs, and potential for the solution we have financing available and can provide access to our specialists.

Read more

Zircon ore sorting and separation


Rio Tinto is seeking a new sorting and separation technology for ore concentrate (75-250 μm) in a continual feeding system. In the first instance, we are exploring options for zircon ore concentrate, but this could also apply to other ore aggregates within Rio Tinto.

About 10,000 tonnes of zircon concentrate is produced each year using conventional technologies (eg screening, gravity concentration, electrostatic separation, magnetic separation, etc).


We are seeking solutions to further sort and separate out the grains with the highest purity, specifically to efficiently and repeatedly:

  • Differentiate between higher and lower quality zircon ore grains
  • Separate the two types of ore grains in a continuous feed system

Focus is on concentrate however, the solution may also be applicable to zircon tailings (waste streams) or other aggregates.

We are looking for technologies and partners to help us explore new solutions. Depending upon the feasibility, costs and potential for the solution we have financing available and can provide access to our specialists.

Read more


Business breakthroughs


If your solutions do not match our current collaboration opportunities we would still like to hear from you. Either register (and we will inform you of new opportunities) or submit anyway (we may have a need).

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Here’s what will happen with your idea:

  • You submit your idea via this website

  • You will receive an email confirmation acknowledging receipt

  • Your submission is instantly syndicated within Rio Tinto via Yammer™

  • A panel will review submissions each month

  • You will receive an email with an update or decision

  • If Rio Tinto chooses to proceed further with your idea, you will be assigned a Rio Tinto key contact to progress

This process can take up to two months.

For further information, please download the submission guide.



Frequently asked questions

How do I submit my innovation for consideration by Rio Tinto?

Whether you are an individual inventor, or represent a small business or listed company, submit your ideas via our submission application

Why does Rio Tinto use a website to receive submissions?

An online innovation submission system enables us to manage this process efficiently, accurately gather all the key information needed for review, and respond to submitters in a timely manner. We are committed to ensuring that innovations are reviewed by the right individuals in our company as quickly as possible.

What kind of information does Rio Tinto need in your submission?

We need a clear, concise description that conveys the nature of the innovation and the unique features and benefits it offers relative to existing solutions, and the status of your intellectual property. Supporting documents can be attached through the form. Please remember that all information submitted must be non-confidential. Do not submit information which is confidential.

Will Rio Tinto sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before I share my innovation?

Please first describe your innovation without disclosing any confidential information. If we have interest in learning more, we will contact you to establish the necessary agreements.

How can I arrange to present my innovation in person?

Our initial review is based wholly on the non-confidential information you provide in your submission. Face-to-face meetings, phone conferences, or live demonstrations are not usually required at this stage. It can take up to eight weeks for our initial review to be carried out. If we need additional information during that period, we will contact you. We therefore ask that you be patient and not contact us about your submission.

Who will review my submission and how long will the review take?

Each innovation is posted onto our Yammer™ group for open review by the Rio Tinto community. Additionally these are reviewed by an expert panel who determines how to route it to ensure it reaches the relevant people within our company. In many cases, this can mean review by several parts of the organisation to evaluate technical merit or strategic business fit for us. We are committed to reaching a decision as quickly as possible, however a thorough initial review, especially of a technological innovation, may take up to eight weeks to complete.

If Rio Tinto is interested in my submission, how much will I be paid for it?

Compensation is an important component of any business transaction. The value of an idea will be determined in discussions between Rio Tinto and the party which controls the rights to the intellectual property and its practice. Each property is therefore evaluated on its own merits and as a result, there is no standard amount.

What type of business relationship with Rio Tinto could result from my submission?

The type of business relationship that might result from your submission could take a variety of forms, depending upon the specifics of the innovation and both the potential partner's and Rio Tinto's needs. This could take the form of a licensing or supply agreement, or other type of collaborative venture.

For what reasons might Rio Tinto decline to pursue my submission?

We understand that those submitting to the Rio Tinto Pioneer Portal desire feedback, including the reasons why we may decide to decline an opportunity. However, we are usually not at liberty to give detailed reasons. Generally speaking, submissions are most often declined for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The proposed solution is already known to us
  • We already have work in progress in the area covered by the submission
  • The opportunity is not a strategic match with where we want to take our business or brands
  • The size of the opportunity does not fit with our business plans
  • There is a lack of protected intellectual property associated with the submission

What does Rio Tinto do with personal information that I provide with my registration?

Rio Tinto will use this information to communicate with you about your submission. It will not be used for any other purpose, nor will it shared with any third party.


Contact us

If you have a question or feedback, please use the form below to contact us.

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