Group overview - Rio Tinto

By: Rio Tinto  11-11-2011
Keywords: aluminium, Diamonds, Copper

Rio Tinto comprises five principal product groups - Aluminium, Copper, Diamonds & Minerals, Energy and Iron Ore - plus two support groups: Technology & Innovation and Exploration.


This unique and versatile metal is used in a broad range of applications for transportation, packaging, electrical materials, medicine, construction and other sectors. Aluminium is light, strong, flexible, non corrosive and infinitely recyclable. When compared to most other metals, less energy is required to manufacture and transport products made from aluminium. Recycling aluminium uses only five per cent of the energy needed to produce primary metal, reducing total greenhouse gas emissions.

Operations in: North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Middle East
Products: bauxite, alumina, speciality aluminas and aluminium


Copper is found in nearly every home and vehicle, and in parts and appliances used in numerous aspects of infrastructure and technology. It blends easily with other metals to form useful alloys such as brass and bronze. It does not rust, and is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. Copper is useful in a broad range of building, construction and electrical applications. Wiring and plumbing are the largest markets for copper. In air conditioning and refrigeration, copper acts as a heat exchanger. It's also an important material architecturally and used in roofing sheeting.

Operations in: North America, South America, Africa, Australia and Asia
Products: copper, gold, molybdenum and silver

Diamonds & Minerals


Rio Tinto produces diamonds in a range of colours, including white, champagne and pink. We also operate a standalone pink diamond business to sell and market loose polished pink diamonds. Some of our diamonds are cut and polished and destined for the fine jewellery market. Others are retained for cutting and polishing, and sold to an international customer base.

Rio Tinto's minerals are essential ingredients used in renewable energy production, insulation and lighter, more fuel efficient cars and in producing glass and paint. They might be used to raise crop yields, trap heat, absorb neutrons, improve flame resistance, strengthen building materials, make industrial processes cleaner and can be found in diverse other applications.

Operations in North America, South America, Australia and Asia, Europe and Africa
Products: diamonds, borates, titanium dioxide feedstocks, talc, high purity iron, metal powders, zircon and rutile


Rio Tinto produces coal and uranium for use as sources of energy. We produce two types of coal - thermal (steam) coal and coking coal. Thermal coal is primarily used to generate electricity in power stations. We produce low sulphur coal, which helps our customers lower their sulphur dioxide emissions. Coking coal is also known as metallurgical coal mainly used in making steel. Uranium is one of the most powerful natural sources of energy. Ore is extracted and treated to produce uranium oxide powder which is supplied to customers to become nuclear fuel for power generation.

Operations in: North America, Africa and Australia
Products: thermal coal, coking coal and uranium

Iron ore

Iron is the most useful metal in the world. Cast iron is partly refined iron containing up to five per cent carbon and is ideal for moulded parts like car engine blocks. Wrought iron is nearly pure iron mixed with a glass-like material. It is used in outdoor furniture, railings and other decorations. Steel is the most common form of iron, containing about one per cent carbon. It has thousands of uses. Stainless steel contains chromium and is ideal for vehicle parts, hospital equipment and cooking utensils. Tool steel is extremely hard, heat treated steel that is used in metalworking tools.

Operations in: Australia and North America
Products: iron ore and salt


At the end of 2009, the Exploration group was actively exploring in 17 countries, and assessing opportunities in a further 19 for a broad range of commodities including bauxite, copper, coking coal, diamonds, iron ore, nickel and uranium.

Technology & Innovation

T&I's technology Centres have responsibility for different areas of mine technology, including mining, asset management and strategic production planning. T&I also pursues innovations that will give Rio Tinto further competitive advantage as it develops the orebodies of the future. T&I's offices are in Australia, Canada, the US and UK.

Keywords: aluminium, Copper, Diamonds, Iron ore