Rio Tinto’s $300 million plan to expand the Pilbara town of Wickham has been approved.
The project was welcomed by West Australian premier Colin Barnett as an important investment in the future of the region.
The Wickham Town Expansion Phase 2 project will create a new Wickham South subdivision and includes 212 new dwellings, 25 residential lots, the installation of 198 new high quality FIFO accommodation units, the construction of a new 1600 metre square town administration and training centre for both the company and community, as well as the new public recreational parks.
"Rio’s investment will see Wickham’s population increase from about 2000 to more than 2600," Barnett said.
The Wickham project will play a part in Rio Tinto’s wider expansion plans and aid the miner in "increasing annual iron ore export capacity through Cape Lambert Port from the current 80 million tonnes to a possible 183 million tonnes in 2015".
Last year the WA government approved the $43 million phase 1 project, which included upgrades to the town’s infrastructure.
"Rio Tinto is now in the final stages of completing a new $22 million sport and recreation precinct available for Wickham residents and teams from surrounding communities, and is revamping many of its existing houses," Barnett added.
Rio and the Shire of Roeburne jointly administer Wickham, which was established in 1970 to accommodate the Cape Lambert workforce.