Rio forging ahead with Pilbara expansion

Rio Tinto is planning to invest $864 million into its Pilbara iron ore operations.

Rio Tinto is planning to invest $864 million into its Pilbara iron ore operations.

The miner is looking to use the capital to expand its annual iron ore production capacity up to 330 million tonnes.

At its Cape Lambert port facility, Rio is aiming to more than double its current capacity of 80 million tonnes to 180 million tonnes by 2016.

It will achieve this by constructing a new 1.8 kilometre jetty and a four berth wharf which will run parallel to existing infrastructure.

Earlier in the year, Rio Tinto also announced that it would carry out dredging works at the port.

This latest investment has highlighted the mining company’s intent to forge ahead with expansion, Rio chief executive iron ore and Australia Sam Walsh said.

“Rio Tinto has a proven track record of managing large-scale iron ore development projects, and has successfully implemented three significant increases in port capacity in the past seven years – Dampier to 140 million tonnes [in two stages] and Cape Lambert to 80 million tonne,” Walsh said.

It will begin its first incremental expansion work at Cape Lambert in the first half of 2014.

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