Rio Tinto is set to commence construction on the Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia in 2019, with the company approving a $3.5 billion investment for the development of the Pilbara mine.
The Koodaideri mine is going to be Rio Tinto’s new iron ore production hub in the Pilbara region and it will comprise of a processing plant and infrastructure, including a 166-kilometre rail line that will connect the new mine to the existing network. The project will also include an airport, support facilities as well as accommodation for those employed to work at the mine.
Production at Koodaideri - located approximately 35 kilometres from the Yandicoogina iron ore mine - is anticipated to begin in late 2021. The mine is estimated to have a capacity of up to 43Mtpa, setting Koodaideri to become Rio Tinto’s future major mining hub in the Pilbara.
Koodaideri has been designed to have an increased level of digitisation and automation that will help bring a safer and more productive mine, enhancing the maintenance and operation capacity of the project. This will also make the mine the lowest-cost contributor to the Pilbara blend in the region.
“Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto. It will be the most technologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of automation and the use of data to enhance safety and productivity.
“As we pursue our value over volume approach, targeted high quality investments such as Koodaideri will ensure we continue to deliver value for our shareholders and Australians,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said.
Once the construction of Koodaideri is completed, it is expected to replace the depleting capacity of iron ore products elsewhere.
The Koodaideri iron ore mine is expected to employ up to 2,000 people during construction and create up to 600 permanent positions once it is operational.
“This further investment in our iron ore business is also a multi-billion dollar vote of confidence in Western Australia. The project will also deliver significant opportunities for local companies and we expect more than A$3 billion will be spent with Australian-based businesses, with opportunities for about A$2.5 billion of spending for Western Australian-based businesses during its development,” Mr Jacques added.
Currently, Rio Tinto is still awaiting final Government approvals before it can proceed with the development of the Koodaideri iron ore project.
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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.