Growth and innovation
Focused on continuous improvement in key areas of our business
We are focused on continuous improvement in key areas of our business including marketing, asset management, mining and processing.
Collaboration is an important part of business improvement. By establishing common systems, solving common issues and sharing knowledge and experiences across sites and the wider Rio Tinto Group, our business is able to improve efficiency and create additional value.
Common practice working groups who focus on specific work areas (such as loading, haulage and dumping, or coal processing) identify and implement business wide initiatives.
The Capacity Framework Agreement, signed in 2009 between the New South Wales government, Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) and the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), remains in its infancy. In the first year of implementation the framework has started to deliver its expected benefits with the next stage of expansion of PWCS - Terminal 4 (T4) - being triggered.
T4, which has been granted Major Project Facilitation by the Commonwealth Government and will be assessed under Major Project legislation by the State Government, will form a critical plank of the Hunter Valley's long term infrastructure solution. This additional capacity will support the future expansions of existing mines and development of new mines planned in the Hunter Valley. Coal & Allied has entered into long term take or pay contracts for port allocation with Port Waratah Coal Services, and has secured additional allocation through NCIG. It will be important that rail capacity keeps pace with the expansion in port capacity in order to service the industry's growth plans.
Following a Queensland Government announcement of an asset sale and the float of Queensland Rail (QR), RTCA was among a consortium of Queensland coal producers which bid $4.85B to purchase QR's coal freight tracks. The bid was later withdrawn, unable to satisfy both the consortium's and government's requirements, and the Queensland Government proceeded to an IPO for QR National.
RTCA has secured port capacity at Abbot Point to meet expansions at Clermont Mine, for the potential developments of Valeria and Winchester South, and with the potential to provide an alternate port option for Hail Creek Mine production. To facilitate access to Abbot Point,RTCA has agreed to be a foundation customer in the QR Goonyella to Abbot Point Expansion which will link the Goonyella rail system with the Newlands rail system via the "Northern Missing Link" rail line.
During 2010 the business improvement team continued work to introduce and embed a LEAN methodology to help find ways to do business better, faster and smarter. Improvement projects are supported by the processing, mining, dragline and asset management teams in Brisbane. Business improvement tools such as LEAN and 6 Sigma are used to solve problems and improve processes. These tools and improvement messages have also been incorporated into leadership programmes to help embed the desired improvement culture.
Business improvement programmes created over $260 million in value throughout the year.
Business improvement programmes
|Bengalla||Truck payload management continued to make a significant contribution of the improvement value. Other projects which looked at ramp design, dragline use and marketing also contributed.||$10.5 million|
|Hunter Valley Operations||Business improvement activities focused on the truck / shovel cycle performance, reducing the time it takes to introduce new heavy mobile equipment, and improving the reliability of the electric shovel fleet.||$83.1 million|
|Mount Thorley Warkworth||Value delivered through a combination of maintenance practices, productivity and efficiency projects, including shovel and truck improvements. Reviewing and revising explosives use and supplies also delivered significant gains.||$52.1 million|
|Clermont region||Integration between Blair Athol and Clermont was the major focus as well as operational delivery of Clermont Mine. Despite this significant change, Clermont Region still made gains through ensuring that train loading and truck payload processes were completed efficiently.||$11 million|
|Hail Creek Mine||Continuing coal handling and preparation plant improvement projects, specifically the Teeter Bed Separators and the Jameson Cell Improvements, delivered more than $19 million in improvements. Other focus areas were truck payload and utilisation, dig rates and dragline bucket and rigging efficiency.||$31 million|
|Kestrel Mine||Longwall productivity increase was the focus area for Kestrel Mine, as well as a focus on LEAN processes. Improvement training was undertaken with the Kestrel Mine Extension contracting team.||$10.1 million|
|Operations, Marketing and Coal Chain teams||Incremental tonnage increases realised by gaining additional infrastructure capacity. There has also been considerable work done to minimise demurrage costs in New South Wales and Queensland.||$63.6 million|