Rio Tinto, together with its joint venture partners Mitsui and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, will be investing approximately $1.55 billion in order to sustain production capacity at two Pilbara operations that make up part of the Robe River Joint Venture.
This investment will include $967 million towards the development of Mesa B, C and H deposits at the Robe Valley operations as well as a $579 million investment towards the development of Deposits C and D at the existing West Angelas operations in Western Australia.
Developing these deposits will help sustain the production of the Pilbara Blend - a world-renowned brand of iron ore - and the Robe Valley lump and fines products that are highly valued by long-term customers.
“The development at West Angelas will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend, the industry’s benchmark premium iron ore product, while the additional Robe Valley deposits will enable us to continue to provide a highly valued product to our long-term customers across Asia.
“The approval of these two projects highlights the strong pipeline of development options within our portfolio as we focused on our value-over-volume strategy,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury said.
Construction on the deposits at both Robe Valley and West Angelas operations is expected to commence in 2019, subject to environmental and government approvals. Approximately 1,200 jobs are projected to be created during the construction phase.
The two projects are also expected to provide significant opportunities for local businesses through Rio Tinto’s commitment to supporting local industries and local procurement.
“This is a big announcement for Western Australia and yet another sign that confidence is returning to the State’s economy. It’s pleasing to see the State’s economy recover and new jobs created, but we acknowledge that there is plenty more to be done. I’m committed to implementing our Plan for Jobs, to diversify the economy and create jobs for Western Australians,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
The first ore from the two developments is anticipated for 2021.
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