Rio Tinto 2Q13 Earnings Call Notes

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This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“I believe that we’ve set ourselves firmly on the path forward to becoming a leaner might tightly run business in pursuit of greater value for shareholders”

“We are seeing slightly slower growth in China but at least off a much bigger base. We are seeing continuing underlying structural issues in Europe and increasing uncertainty over the unwinding of the easing programs particularly in the USA.”

“Look in relation to capital allocation and investment decisions, I have mentioned that we have strengthened investment committee process and the inputs into that process from business evaluation group and our technical evaluation group. Quite frankly during the growth period, we had relaxed some of the checks and balances that those groups provided to our investment committee.”

“I think the best way I can describe it is that there are things that need to be worked through in the middle of an organization. You can’t actually determine these from the top of the organization.”

“You need the subject matter experts. The investment community can’t make decisions as to whether there has been enough infill drilling. They can’t make decisions as to whether the hydrology model rather the geo-technology. They’ve really got to rely on the middle level experts to do that. We had weakened that process.”

“Some people have said why don’t you spend your time traveling around the world whatever? The answer is no. I spend the majority of my time focusing on the contour of change that we need to make, focusing on the steps that we need put in place in terms of clear goals, clear vision, clear incentives, clear delivery rather than being administrator for tourism. I have visited our major operations around the world, Montreal, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and so on. I have visited those to deliver the message. Then I step back and I know that I am looking at what they’re doing, I know what they need to do and they are delivering. So is the journey to finish an element? No, it’s not but we’ve got the right steps in place and have a look at the results, we’re delivering.”

“in relation to Tom Price. We’ve got a lot of good equipment there, it’s being well looked after, well maintained, it has got a lot more life in it and that’s how we’ll extend the life there.”

“I have learned in my career, if you want to transfer technology, if you want to transfer knowledge, the best way to do it is actually to transfer people. And that way you can principally keep people working side by side and see closely what’s going on and how you can get the same sort of benefits really flowing through, it’s not the concept – we all, private equity, yeah we don’t know what they do. The trick is how you actually implement it, implementation is hard and you need to have the knowledge and experience and you always need to have done it do it. ”

“Last year is definitely our peak [Capex] for the foreseeable future.”