Rio Tinto celebrates half a century of Pilbara iron ore export

Rio Tinto has celebrated 50 years since its first contracted iron ore shipment set sail.

Earlier this week the miner recognised the anniversary of its first shipment leaving Australia, from Dampier’s port bound for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.

Prior to this landmark event, the miner had laid almost 300 kilometres of rail, shifted 12 million cubic me3tres of dirt, and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment.

It also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price to support its operations, and dredged the port to make it viable for the ore carriers.

“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth,” Rio Tinto’s iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.

“The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies.

“Over the past 50 years Rio Tinto has invested more than $37 billion to grow our Pilbara operations. We now employ 12,000 people who operate our network of mines, rail and ports, and sell our iron ore to customers all around the world,” he said.

“The relationships formed with local Pilbara communities, community and government partners, Traditional Owners, and business partners and customers have been vital to our success.

“Rio Tinto is proud to be part of Western Australia’s transformation where new communities have been created, world-leading technology developed and international relationships forged.”