May 17, 2020

REPORT: Rio Tinto to Develop the Biggest Iron Ore Mine in Australia

Rio Tinto
BHP Billiton
Iron ore
2 min
REPORT: Rio Tinto to Develop the Biggest Iron Ore Mine in Australia
UK miner Rio Tinto(LSE:RIO) is reportedly formalizing plans to develop a colossal iron ore mine at its Yandicoogina operation in Pilbara, capable of pro...

UK miner Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) is reportedly formalizing plans to develop a colossal iron ore mine at its Yandicoogina operation in Pilbara, capable of producing 70 million tons annually.

Rio has already filed an environmental application for the project and is currently carrying out prefeasibility studies on the new pit in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The company is expecting to start production in 2017.

Known as Pocket and Billiard South, the mine will be roughly seven kilometers long and one kilometer wide. The pit will become Australia’s biggest iron ore mine, replacing BHP Billiton’s Mt. Whaleback site in size and production.

The company’s Yandicoogina project currently produces 75 million tons of iron ore annually through various open-pit mines. The Pocket and Billiard South mine will more or less match that production with one pit.  

In 2012, Rio Tinto revealed plans for a $3.4 billion expansion of iron ore operations in Western Australia. The company committed $2.2 billion to extending the life of its Nammuldi iron ore mine, including investing $1.2 billion in the expansion of its Cape Lambert port and rail facilities.

The company is currently focusing on the second phase of its expansion which will increase iron ore production to 360 million tons annually by the end of 2015.

Rio Tinto had previously planned to build a $3-billion mine at Koodaideri in central Western Australia. However, plans for the project have been delayed until 2017.

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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