RIO Tinto has approved a US$1.8 billion expansion of the Yarwun Alumina Refinery in Gladstone, Queensland. The expansion will more than double annual production, increasing output by two million tonnes to 3.4 million tonnes by 2011.
Rio Tinto’s long life resource at Weipa in northern Queensland will supply bauxite to the refinery.
The Yarwun expansion will have the benefit of substantial scale efficiencies gained from the construction of the first stage of the refinery.
Work will commence on the expansion in the third quarter of 2007 and it is expected to take about three years to complete.
First shipments are expected in the second half of 2010.
All government approvals have been granted.