Rio Tinto approves $1 billion investment in Pilbara iron ore operations

Rio Tinto has approved a AUS$1 billion investment in its Greater Tom Price operations, to help sustain production capacity at its iron ore business in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The Anglo-Australian miner’s investment in the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 (WTS2) mine will facilitate mining of existing and new deposits and includes the construction of a new crusher as well as a 13 km conveyor.

The new conveyor system will help lower greenhouse gas emissions from the mine by 3.5% compared to road haulage, said Rio in a press release. The company added that it is continuing to assess additional options to reduce emissions, including renewable energy solutions.

Construction will commence in the first quarter of 2020 with first ore from the crusher expected in 2021. The production of high-quality Brockman ore will support the company’s Pilbara Blend, which continues to be the preferred baseload product for China’s steel mills.

Rio’s iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said “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.”