Mining giant Rio Tinto has approved a $749 million investment in its Western Australian Greater Tom Price operations which will help sustain the production capacity of its Pilbara iron ore business, the company said Wednesday.
“Pending final government approvals, construction will start in the first quarter of 2020 with first ore from the crusher expected in 2021,” it said.
The investment will go towards the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 mine which will facilitate mining of existing and new deposits and includes construction of a new crusher as well as a 13-km conveyor.
“Our iron ore business continues to deliver industry-leading margins as we drive performance from our mines. This significant investment in the Greater Tom Price hub is one of a pipeline of high-quality, low-cost options that will underpin production of our flagship Pilbara Blend product well into the future,” Rio’s iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.
Rio’s 100% owned Greater Tom Price production hub includes the Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline Phase 1 and Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 satellite hubs. Rio started development of Western Turner Syncline phase 2 in 2014.
Rio’s Australian iron ore assets produced a total of 87.3 million mt in July-September, which is up 6% year on year and 10% from April-June. The company expecting to ship a total of 320 million-330 million mt for 2019, it said in its latest quarterly results.
Production of the Pilbara Blend Lump stood at 21 million mt for the quarter, up 2% year on year and 6% quarter on quarter and Pilbara Blend Fines production was 31.7 million mt, up 6% year on year and 11% quarter on quarter, it said.News Source: Platts