Rio Tinto has made another step toward expanding its Pilbara iron ore assets, with a new shiploader recently installed at the Cape Lambert port.
In a statement Rio said the shiploader had a 55 million tonne annual capacity, and unloading and installation of the equipment was completed within a few days.
The 1,000 tonne loader was manufactured offshore and transported to the Pilbara in modular form by a specialist heavy-lift ship.
Rio Tinto Pilbara projects COO Michael Gollschewski said the new equipment was a big milestone for the company as it continued to expand its iron ore operations.
“The last time we received a new shiploader was in 2007, also at Cape Lambert, on the existing wharf as part of the capacity expansion to 220 million tonnes a year. This is a powerful visible reminder that we are progressing rapidly towards the reaching our interim target of achieving 290 million tonne annual capacity for the Pilbara operations,” he said.
“The shiploader joins the two new stackers, two reclaimers and a new car dumper in the newly constructed stockyard for the Cape Lambert expansion, which means all of our major coastal infrastructure for the 290 Mt/a project is now safely on site and in place ensuring a major element of risk has now been resolved.”
Rio said expansions to Cape Lambert were on schedule and the first stage of work would be completed by 2013.
Stage one consists of finishing a two-sided berth that provides ore for two carriers, and the second stage will see a wharf extension add another two berths to the port.
“Once all works have been completed the Cape Lambert port will have the largest export capacity of the three iron ore port assets owned by Rio Tinto,” the company said.