Rio Tinto ups iron ore export capacity

Rio Tinto ups iron ore export capacity

Mining giant Rio Tinto will boost its iron ore export capacity in the Pilbara region of Western Australia after investing almost $600 million to help expand a port facility in the region.

Rio Tinto said the expansion of Cape Lambert port by its owners, which will cost a total of $US860 million ($A1.11 billion), will lift annual capacity to 80 million tonnes from 55 million.

The expansion works are due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008, after which Rio Tinto’s mine, rail and port capacity in the Pilbara will be matched and capable of exporting 220 million tonnes per year.

“The Cape Lambert expansion, our third recent port expansion, will allow Rio Tinto to continue to maximise its production from the Pilbara, retaining its position as Australia’s leading iron ore producer and a major global player,” Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh.

Rio Tinto will contribute $US456 million ($A588.12 million) to the expansion of the port, which is owned by Robe River Iron Associates and is operated by Pilbara Iron, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto said a further $US130 million ($A167.67 million) will be invested in sustaining and environmental capital works at the Cape Lambert port to support the increased levels of production.

The Cape Lambert upgrade brings Rio Tinto’s expenditure in the Pilbara on infrastructure projects and facilities development close to $US5 billion ($A6.45 billion) since 2003.

The Cape Lambert project is subject to relevant government approvals.


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