OREANDA-NEWS. Rio Tinto Minerals today formally launched its Asia Technology Centre (ATC) to serve the growing market for borates in Asia.

Rio Tinto Minerals is recognised as a world leader in borate supply and science. Borates are found in a variety of products including high technology glass used in flat screen televisions and laptops, fibreglass to make buildings energy efficient, and fertilisers that help farmers increase crop quality and yield.

The ATC in Suzhou, China joins research facilities in the United States and is fully developed with laboratories, offices and work spaces, and built for growth. Construction of the centre, designed for LEED silver certification for energy efficiency and low environmental impact, began in March 2012. It was completed in November 2012 with no lost time injuries in 126,000 man-hours of work.

The ATC provides important internal capabilities in glass and ceramics, metals and advanced materials, and agriculture and specialty chemicals to support RTM's research and development expansion in Asia. The company's research and development strategy is to partner with customers, universities, government labs and other centres of to pursue commercially relevant innovation.

Rio Tinto Minerals president and chief executive Xiaoling Liu said "Asia is the largest and fastest growing market for borates in the world, accounting for 50 per cent of global demand. Refined borates play an important role in promoting higher standards of living and addressing energy and food shortages. We are proud to partner with respected companies and research organisations throughout Asia to provide reliable, consistent innovation now and into the future."