Rio to make hay in the Pilbara

Water is now flowing at Rio Tinto's agricultural project in the Pilbara, which uses water from the company's Marandoo mine to grow hay for the company's pastoral stations.

The bulk of the 30,000 tonnes of hay produced on the project will be used at Rio's six cattle operations in the Pilbara, but the company said surplus supply could be available for other pastoralists in the region.

Using resources from below water table mining at Marandoo, the project transfers water through 35 kilometres of pipe to irrigate around 850 hectares of land.

While most of the land will be used for hay production a small portion will also be irrigated to help grow natural vegetation used in Marandoo's rehabilitation program.

In a statement Rio Tinto said it was conducting further studies in the Pilbara in the hope of developing a similar irrigated project in the region.

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