AusBN - Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is set to commence production at its 16th iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Construction at the Silvergrass project has been ramped up since the turn of the year, with the US$338 million development creating around 1,000 jobs during the pre-operative phase.
The mine is a satellite deposit that will be linked to the processing plant at the company’s neighbouring Nammuldi mine via a conveyor system.
The initial phase of the project was completed at the end of 2015, providing a capacity of five million tonnes per annum to the facility.
However, the second phase, which is expected to be finalised by the end of the fourth quarter of this year, will double the mine’s capacity to ten million tonnes.
At full tilt, Silvergrass will have a final capacity of 20 million tonnes, which should swing into full production by early 2018.
In other company news, Chinese-owned miner Yancoal has signalled it will make an increased bid for Rio’s Hunter Valley coal assets, following Glencore’s submission of a surprise counter-bid last week.