The joint programme with Founders Factory will target technologies strategic to the mining industry such as decarbonisation and automation.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott

Photo of Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott courtesy of Rio Tinto.

British-Australian mining group Rio Tinto has teamed up with venture platform Founders Factory to invest A$14.4m ($9.5m) in pre-seed and seed-stage startups for the next three years.

Rio Tinto already runs a corporate venture capital fund launched in 2021 called RT Ventures, which focuses on mining and decarbonisation technologies. It has backed nine companies including biocarbon developer Aymium and renewable fuel provider ClearFlame.

The latest initiative will similarly target companies operating in the mining industry, especially those working on safe mine operations, decarbonisation, exploration processing and automation.

Selected companies will participate in a four-month accelerator scheme run by Founders Factory. They will also receive funding to further develop and commercialise their products.

In addition to Rio Tinto, Founders Factory has formed a partnership with the Western Australian government to back nature technology developers that help protect and enhance nature and biodiversity.

“Technology has always been at the forefront of our industry and Western Australia can be the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott (pictured) in a statement.

“With the backing of industry and the state government, local and international startups will receive investment opportunities and access to real-world testing and scaling support, helping Western Australia’s innovation economy to grow.”

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.