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 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.
Newmont acquires Canada’s GT Gold in $325mn deal
Newmont, the world’s biggest gold miner, has acquired Canada’s GT Gold in a deal worth $325mn. The gold giant now controls the Tatogga gold-copper project in the Traditional Territory of the Tahltan Nation.
“With the acquisition of GT Gold and the Tatogga project in the highly sought-after Golden Triangle district of British Columbia, Canada, Newmont continues to strengthen our world-class portfolio,” commented Newmont President and CEO Tom Palmer.
“We look forward to continuing to build a respectful and meaningful relationship with the Tahltan Nation, including the community of Iskut. The relationships we have with Indigenous communities, First Nations and host communities are critical to the way we operate. We will partner with the Tahltan Nation at all levels, and with the Government of British Columbia to ensure a shared path forward as the Company understands and acknowledges that Tahltan consent is necessary for advancing the Tatogga project.”
Newmont’s acquisition includes the Tatogga project, comprised primarily of the Saddle North deposit, which has the potential to contribute future significant gold and copper annual production. There are also further exploration opportunities beyond the known deposits at Saddle North within the land package. The Tatogga project adds to Newmont’s existing interest in the prospective Golden Triangle through the company’s 50% ownership in the Galore Creek project.
Newmont is the world’s leading gold company and a producer of copper, silver, zinc and lead. A world-class portfolio of assets, prospects and talent is anchored in favourable mining jurisdictions in North America, South America, Australia and Africa. The American miner is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.
With gold prices on the rise, the last six months has seen gold industry M&A activity accelerating. A recent Mckinsey report, advises that the industry need to be mindful of mistakes made during the previous gold price boom, when growth was chased unidirectionally by several companies.