South32’s new CTO to join miner in August

Vanessa Torres will begin role in August

Australian miner South32’s next chief technology officer has confirmed she will commence the role in August.

Vanessa Torres joins from an 11 year career at BHP – which spun out South32 in 2015 – where she was most recently vice president of operational infrastructure in the company’s iron ore arm.

Prior to BHP she worked at Brazilian miner Vale in a variety of technology leadership roles.

Vanessa Torres. Credit: LinkedIn
Vanessa Torres. Credit: LinkedIn

The Brazilian-Australian dual national’s appointment was revealed in February.

“We see technology as a key enabler in driving safety and production improvements at our operations, and Vanessa’s knowledge and operational experience position her well to lead us into this next phase of performance improvement,” South32 CEO Graham Kerr said at the time.

South32 – which has operations in Western Australia as well as Southern Africa and South America – said Torres was a champion of inclusion and diversity. Earlier this year the company announced it was allocating US$1.8 million towards addressing its gender pay gap and aims to have women in 40 per cent of leadership positions.

“Throughout her career, Vanessa has been at the forefront of technological improvements in mining and minerals processing and is a recognised leader and early adopter of technological advancements that enabled significant value creation,” the miner added.

Torres begins work at the company a year after the sudden resignation of inaugural CTO Ricus Grimbeek, who left to pursue ‘other interests’ soon after finalising the company’s technology roadmap.

He is now chief operating officer at Vale Base Metals, in Canada. Following Grimbeek’s departure, the CTO position has been held by Johan Coetzee in an acting capacity.

South32 considers increased digitisation of its operations central to boosting productivity. It has also been using drones in a variety of applications including stockpile and pit scans, creating 3D models with point and photography data, inspecting confined spaces and infrastructure, incident investigations and environmental monitoring.

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