Pil­bara gets jobs boost as Rio to ex­tend life of mines

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

The State Govern­ment has signed off on two new Rio Tinto projects in the Pil­bara, trig­ger­ing a $US367 mil­lion cap­i­tal spend by the iron ore ma­jor.

State De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Bill Marmion said the two de­vel­op­ments, de­signed to ex­tend the life of the West An­ge­las and Yandi­coogina mines, will em­ploy about 340 peo­ple dur­ing their con­struc­tion phase.

Rio has been given the go-ahead to ex­tend min­ing at Yandi­coogina to the Oxbow de­posit, and open up a new de­posit at West An­ge­las.

Nei­ther ap­proval will add ex­tra tonnes to Rio’s ex­port tar­gets, with both projects needed to sus­tain ex­ist­ing pro­duc­tion at cur­rent rates.

Rio is pro­duc­ing 35 mil­lion tonnes a year from West An­ge­las, and about 60mtpa from Yandi­coogina.

Its Pil­bara mines pro­duced 79.9mt in the March quar­ter, and it is slated to ship 350mt from its global op­er­a­tions this cal­en­dar year.

Rio is still to make a de­ci­sion on de­vel­op­ment of a green­field mine at Sil­ver­grass, with a fi­nal call tipped for the sec­ond half of the year.

Mr Marmion said the lat­est ap­provals were good news for WA’s hard-hit con­tract­ing sec­tor.

Pic­ture: Bloomberg via Getty Images

A haul truck is loaded by a dig­ger with ma­te­rial from the pit at Rio Tinto Group's West An­ge­las iron ore mine in Pil­bara.

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