Rio Tinto has spent over $500 million to develop the Greater Tom Price iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The metals and mining major intends to create an employment for more than 1000 people at peak construction, as development of the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 expansion continues.
The latest investments come after Rio Tinto spent $1 billion dollars in late 2019 to maintain its iron ore production in the Pilbara, with a new crusher and a 13-kilometre conveyor belt installed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 per cent.
Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan is pleased with the management of the country’s resources hub.
“The Pilbara region is the engine room of the nation, and thanks to Western Australia’s strong management of the pandemic, we can expect more job-creating projects to come online in the coming years,” he said.
“Rio Tinto has been embedded in the Tom Price community for decades and have made a significant contribution to the town. I congratulate Rio Tinto for its commitment to this important project.
“This project will ensure Tom Price has a bright future and my government is committed to ensuring mining communities have first class services to support local families.”
To support the more than 50 per cent of locals employed by Rio Tinto, the company contributed $20 million towards a new Tom Price hospital.
The hospital, currently in its planning stages, will include an emergency department, inpatient ward and consulting rooms, as well as improved communications technology to connect the remote community with Perth specialists.
McGowan said the 54-year-old hospital was well deserving of the upgrade.
“I’m delighted to have worked with Rio Tinto to replace the ageing Tom Price Hospital, which will service local families, as well as local Aboriginal communities,” he said.
“This will deliver a massive improvement in health outcomes for people in Tom Price and provide a state-of-the-art hospital to replace an ageing facility.”
Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Ivan Vella said his company understood its commitment to local communities.
“With a large presence in the Pilbara, Rio Tinto has a responsibility to work with both state and local governments to help improve the future of the region,” he said.
“We are pleased to partner with the state government to invest in important infrastructure for regional communities. This new hospital will improve health services for local residents as well as provide opportunities for local businesses to contribute it its construction.”