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20 February 2012

e2v and Rio Tinto announce Memorandum of Understanding on ‘Mine of the Future’ programme


e2v, the leading global provider of technology solutions for high performance systems, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rio Tinto, the leading international mining group, to develop large-scale ProWavemicrowave and radio frequency generators for use in world-leading mineral recovery.

Rio Tinto will partner with e2v to develop machines to improve the efficiency of mineral recovery from previously discarded ore. The machinery will set a new world standard in mineral recovery.

The partnership will enable Rio Tinto to scale up its mineral recovery platforms such as the Copper NuWavetechnology which is expected to be trialled later this year at Kennecott Utah Copper in the United States.

Rio Tinto head of innovation John McGagh said “Rio Tinto’s Copper NuWaveprogramme will enable e2v to work with us to build microwave generators of a scale not previously seen in industrial application that are safe, reliable and that we can deploy commercially.

“This will provide us with highly efficient microwave power and help us achieve our goal to recover ore from previously mined material that would normally have been discarded. If we can commercialise this technology at scale it will be akin to tapping into a new ore body. This is world-class technology that will ensure Rio Tinto continues to lead the way in the mining sector.”

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, recently announced that e2v had been awarded a £6.25 million grant under the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) administered by the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which e2v will use to invest in capacity and facilities to create jobs and increase design, engineering, manufacturing and test capabilities in their ProWave industrial processing systems.

Vince Cable commented: "The UK economy needs partnerships like these; two leaders in their field, working together on hi-tech projects with a strong export focus. This shows the benefit of targeted investment from the Government's Regional Growth Fund and how it can help companies grow and expand into new markets. I am pleased that support through the fund is being put to such positive and immediate use."

e2v recently reported the first delivery of its ProWave vermiculite processing system for commercial field trial installation, with Silvaperl, a leading UK producer of exfoliated vermiculite.

Silvaperl is using the trial machine to supply its customers. The trial has also identified system requirements and modifications required to process worldwide sources of vermiculite, which will be completed within 6 months.

Keith Attwood, CEO of e2v commented “With the signing of this strategic partnership, we are delighted to now be able to announce our relationship with Rio Tinto, and the role of ProWave technology in the mineral recovery sector.” Adding “Building on our expertise in microwave and RF sources and power supplies for radar and radiotherapy markets, Prowave can operate at a fraction of the power consumption of traditional fossil fuelled systems and in a more environmentally sensitive way. We are delivering transformational economics to the industrial processing marketplace.”

Mr McGagh added “Through this MOU, we will collaborate with e2v to develop robust equipment that is safe to use and has the capacity that we need to scale up platforms like Copper NuWave™. This is another example of how we are partnering with global leaders to access high end technology that is not currently deployed in the mining industry.”



Press contact:

Andy Bennett Group Communications Manager



About e2v

e2v is a leading global provider of specialist technology for high performance systems and equipment; delivering solutions, sub-systems and components for specialist applications within medical & science, aerospace & defence, and commercial & industrial markets. e2v has its headquarters in the UK, employs approximately 1500 people, has design and production facilities across Europe and North America, and has a global network of sales and technical support offices. For the year ended 31 March 2011, e2v reported sales of £229m and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information visit

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.