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Rio Tinto saves $3M by improving information transfer across shifts on Holden Mine

Project name: Rio Tinto Holden Mine Reclamation | Industry: MiningLocation: Washington State, U.S.A.

The Holden Mine Remediation Project is regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) standards. The project is large and complex, with construction scheduled for 2011 through 2016. The clean-up focuses primarily on water quality improvement and long-term land reclamation at the site. This includes the rerouting of a creek to improve the fishery habitat and the building of a slurry wall and underground bulkheads to contain and collect affected water for processing at a treatment plant.


  • Remote, inaccessible Superfund site, requiring agency oversight, with 300+ inches of snow annually and virtually no wireless network coverage.
  • Project team of 350 members across 50 organizations, including Rio Tinto, MWH Americas (lead designer), and more than 20 contractors across the U.S. and abroad.
  • Complex workflows with aggressive deadlines and staggered work schedules (two weeks on, one week off).
  • Requirement for fast access to historical project documentation for risk mitigation and environmental regulations compliance.


  • Centralized Aconex collaboration platform for exchanging project information between different organizations.
  • Instant access to project documents and workflow automation.
  • Aconex Mobile apps for iPad uploads and downloads to maintain information and process continuity through Wi-Fi access gaps.
  • Permanent audit trail for all communications, workflows and decisions, plus long-term retention of documents.
  • Fast learning curve – 30 minutes or less – for new project team members coming on board.


  • Saved US$3 million by reducing overlap time during employee rotations by nearly 65% over four years.
  • Enabled savings of US$480,000 by keeping project leads up to date when remote.
  • Reduced document preparation at handover from four months to one, saving US$450,000.
  • Reduced document controller headcount from four to one, saving US$900,000 over four years.
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