RIO TINTO IN AUSTRALIA
The Origins and Formation of an International Resources Company 1954 – 1995
Hardback, 504 pages
Retail Price $65
September 2023 release
Rio Tinto in Australia charts the establishment and remarkable growth of Rio Tinto, including exploration in the 1950s, acquisition of the Mary Kathleen uranium deposit, and the 1962 combination with Consolidated Zinc to form Conzinc Riotinto of Australia (CRA). CRA was the major contributor to Australia’s post-war mining industry. Comalco aluminium, Hamersley iron ore and the major Bougainville copper operation were all significant parts of the portfolio.
Many individuals played a role in CRA’s development, among them legendary mining figure Sir Maurice Mawby, and Oxford and Harvard-educated Sir Rod Carnegie, who ultimately left the company when his quest for CRA’s independence and Australianisation fractured relations with London. RTZ and CRA combined in 1996 to form a dual listed company structure. The CRA name disappeared and Rio Tinto again became – as it was in 1954 – the identity of the Group in Australia. Many involved in the long and impressive growth of Consolidated Zinc and CRA saw this combination as the reassertion of control from London.
… a revealing history of the post-war mining boom that changed the nation but also an insight into the politics of big business. The book says much that will be new to historians, commentators and leaders of the mining industry.
Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC
… an authoritative addition to Australian business history. What sets this work apart is the richness of the narrative, and the author’s sophisticated understanding of the roles played by directors and senior managers in shaping this important multinational company ...
David Merrett, Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne
… indispensable reading for anyone interested in Australia’s mining history and its post-war economic development.
David Lee, Associate Professor, University of New South Wales, Canberra
… a very important contribution to good business histories in Australia. The dynamic between the Australian and the London-based executives reveals much about the challenges of running an increasingly global enterprise in the post 1945 era.
Erik Eklund, Honorary Professor, Australian National University
Dr Robert Porter worked in the corporate sector, including in resource companies and now researches and writes business histories. His publications include: Paul Hasluck. A Political Biography; Below the Sands. The Companies that Formed Iluka Resources; Consolidated Gold Fields in Australia, the Rise and Decline of a British Mining House, 1926-1998; The Path to Palladium. He lives in Melbourne.