One of the world’s largest mining companies has approved a multi-billion-dollar investment, as it looks to sustain production at a joint venture iron ore project in the Pilbara region.
Rio Tinto announced in a statement this week that it, together with joint venture partners Mitsui and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, has approved an investment of $1.55 billion to sustain production capacity at the Mesa B, C and H deposits at its Robe Valley project and Deposits C and D at its West Angelas operation.
The company will invest $967 million (with Rio Tinto contributing $513 million) in Robe Valley and $579 million (of which Rio Tinto will contribute $307 million) in the West Angelas operation.
The investments will ‘enable Rio Tinto to sustain production of the Pilbara Blend, the world's most recognised brand of iron ore, and its Robe Valley lump and fines products, which are highly valued by long-term customers.’
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said "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 remain focused on our value-over-volume strategy."
With a construction date targeted for 2019, the development will create around 1,200 new jobs and Rio Tinto will look to produce first ore in 2021.