Rio Tinto has hinted that some of its risky information technology investments remain unproven and could impact negatively on the company’s cost management and productivity.

The company – in its 2009 annual report – said it invested and implemented information systems and operational initiatives including new technologies.

It said it is uncertain, however, of what benefits or loses these information systems and initiatives could bring about.

The report warns that if the group’s technology systems fail to realise anticipated benefits it could suffer financial losses, interruptions to supply continuity and have trouble meeting production or growth plans.

The gross cost for Rio’s Technology and Innovation department declined during the year to $134m compared to $158m in 2008.

Rio Tinto also reported $6.3bn earnings, down against $10.3bn in 2008, while net earnings were $4.9bn, up on $3.7bn in 2008.