Rio plan massive new $3.5bn mine for the Pilbara

Rio Tinto has submitted documents to develop one of the biggest iron ore mines in the Pilbara, expected to export as much as 70 million tonnes a year.

The Koodaideri mine would be located 110 km north-west of Newman and is expected to have a 30 year life span.

According to documents filed by Rio, the mine is expected to produce 35 million tonnes of ore a year, before a ramp up by 2030 which will see that figure increase to 70 million tonnes a year.

The mine would require a new 167 km railway to be built in order to connect the mine to Rio’s Dampier-Tom Price line.

New roads, power sources, water infrastructure and FIFO village facilities would also be need to be constructed.

Up to 2,000 people would be needed to build the mine while 700 workers would be required for the mine's operation.

The estimated price tag for the mine and rail development is $US3.2 billion ($3.5 billion).

The proposal is now open to a six week public consultation period before the EPA makes its recommendation to the Minister for Environment Albert Jacob.

If Rio choose to pursue the project construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2014 before first production in 2016.

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