Rhodes Ridge iron ore project in WA gets green light for development

Monica Gameng   |   October 24, 2022
Haul train in the Pilbara (cr: Rio Tinto)

The green light has been given to the development of the Rhodes Ridge deposits in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia and the State Government welcomes this joint venture decision from Rio Tinto and Wright Prospecting. 

“The Pilbara region is the beating heart of WA’s resources industry. 

“This announcement follows the recent Western Range joint venture and shows the welcomed opportunities for workers and businesses,” Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said. 

The joint venture partners have amended an agreement that dates back to 1972 to accommodate the development of the Rhodes Ridge project, which is home to one of the world’s largest and highest quality undeveloped iron ore deposits – a total resource of 6.7 billion tonnes, which is about one-third of Rio Tinto’s existing resource base. 

The updated agreement will now cover the development of Rhodes Ridge utilising Rio Tinto’s existing rail, port and power infrastructure in the region. 

An Order of Magnitude study is now underway, conducted by Rio Tinto, and this will consider the development of the project within the next 10 years, with initial plant capacity of approximately 40Mtpa – subject to relevant approvals. 

“Rhodes Ridge contains one of the biggest and best undeveloped iron ore deposits on the planet with proximate access to existing infrastructure. We are very excited we have been able to strengthen our relationship with Wright Prospecting and have a pathway to bring this high quality resource to market. 

“With its significant resource base, the Rhodes Ridge project has the potential to underpin production of the Pilbara Blend in the decades ahead,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott said. 

The project will focus on climate, biodiversity as well as heritage through the utilisation of existing rail, port and power infrastructure – including a planned 1GW of renewable energy resource in the Pilbara. 

“We are committed to working closely with the Traditional Owners, the Nyiyaparli and Ngarlawangga People, to ensure sites of significant cultural, environmental, and biodiversity value are protected as part of any future development at Rhodes Ridge. Consistent with our revised approach for new operations, a co-management approach to any future mining activity will be developed in partnership with Traditional Owners,” Mr Trott said. 

“We are delighted to have reached this important milestone for the Rhodes Ridge project. We look forward to partnering with Rio Tinto to develop this asset with a world-leading focus on climate, biodiversity and heritage,” a spokesperson for Wright Prospecting said. 

The Rhodes Ridge project further cements the State’s position as “the best place for business and investment” as its resources industry continue driving both Western Australia and Australia’s economies through jobs creation now and into the future. 

“We welcome the Rhodes Ridge project and the opportunities it will bring to Western Australia. 

“This again reinforces our State’s strength as an ideal location for business and investment which will grow our economy, further contributing to record sales in our resources sector and investment in infrastructure,” Premier Mark McGowan said. 

The Rhodes Ridge project is anticipated to create thousands of jobs, providing a significant boost to the local economy. 

“The benefits of this project will extend beyond the Pilbara region in creating thousands of jobs and contributing to our economy. 

“We’re committed to ensuring we continue to position ourselves as a secure and attractive destination for investment and employment,” State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook said. 

Source: Government of Western Australia – Media Statements; Rio Tinto; International Mining; Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly; NS Energy 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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