Rio Tinto is looking to hire an army of software developers.

The mining giant has reportedly started building an in-house software development function that it says may expand to “more than 500” people over the next five years. 

Capability will be developed at Rio’s Brisbane hub, which already houses its digital innovation and information Systems and technology functions. 

But there are signs that the software development workforce will ultimately span Rio Tinto’s global operations.

Consultancy Endava has been brought in to “create a framework to instil best practices and development capabilities” in the new team, the company says. 

“Developing in-house product software development capability will be core to accelerating our digital transformation,” Rio Tinto CIO Dan Evans said in a statement.

“We are a mining and metals company, but if you look at our autonomous trucks and drills, remote operations centres, advanced process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, there’s no doubt that we are also a technology company.”