Pilbara gets jobs boost as Rio to extend life of mines
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.
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.