Rio Tinto has welcomed the Mining Warden’s confirmation that the Rhodes Ridge Joint Venture’s (50 per cent Rio Tinto) tenure over Rhodes Ridge in the East Pilbara in North West Australia is valid.
“While the complex issues dealt with in the decision merit further consideration, the underlying conclusion is clear,” Rio Tinto said yesterday.
“The decision has confirmed the validity of the JV’s rights under the Rhodes Ridge State Agreement, and the rights it enjoys under the Temporary Reserves and associated rights of occupancy.
“It has upheld the primacy of the State Agreement and all of its associated rights over the provisions of the Mining Act, emphasising the long term duration of the operation of State Agreements necessary to facilitate the economic mining and export of iron ore.”
According to Rio Tinto, The Warden decided the exploration licence applications needed further consideration, but made clear they would in any event remain subject to a number of factors – the most important of which was recognition of the primacy of the joint venturers’ rights.
“This meant any exploration licence should not interfere with joint venture activities, and not abrogate joint venture rights, including mining and other rights under the State Agreement,” Rio Tinto said.