Rio Tinto has announced that it has approved a US$146 million (approximately AUS$197 million) funding to jump start initial works at the Koodaideri iron ore project - located in the Pilbara region about 110 kilometres from Newman, Western Australia - ahead of the final investment decision which is expected to be made by the end of 2018.
“This is an important step for our Koodaideri project which will be a significant leap forward for the global mining industry and Rio Tinto,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury said.
Initial works for Koodaideri will include detailed engineering for key elements of the project as well as the development of a rail construction camp and Stage 1 of the accommodation camp.
The Koodaideri mine is set to become Rio Tinto’s first intelligent mine, with the incorporation of the latest high-tech advances in the industry and the use of increased level of automation and robotics. The large-scale mine is going to be a low-cost and high-quality project that will produce replacement tonnes and form a new production hub for Rio Tinto in the region for decades.
Construction on Koodaideri is expected to commence in 2019, but it still subject to final investment decision and approvals from the government. The mine is projected to create more than 2,000 jobs during the construction phase and a further 600 operational positions.
“We’ve been building mines in the Pilbara for over 50 years, and, subject to final approvals, Koodaideri will incorporate all of that knowledge to enable us to build the smartest, safest and most efficient mine we’ve ever constructed. The deployment of leading edge technology will deliver a step-change in both safety and productivity for our business,” Mr Salisbury said.
First production at Koodaideri is expected to begin in 2021.
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