Rio Tinto is expanding its iron ore operation in Pilbara and is going to spend $3.4 billion to do so. The Western Australia mining operations are to be boosted to help the company meet the target of a 50% increase in iron ore production.
Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh said that they believed that they had the best quality iron ore expansion projects anywhere in the world. Sam Walsh added that they were high return, low-risk investments that were highly value-adding for shareholders.
The Nammuldi mine will be seeing an influx of $2.2 billion for its mine life extension. The work involves extending the mining below the water table which will increase the mine’s life by 14 years. Early works on the expansion of the Cape Lambert port and rail facilities will also be given $ 1.2 billion. Many regulatory and environmental clearances are yet to be completed for this project. This will increase the production of iron ore to 283 million tons by the second half of 2013.
Sam Walsh said that the program remained on track and they were bringing new iron ore production on stream at a time when demand from Asian markets is forecast to grow strongly, while industry supply growth remains constrained.