Rio marks 50 years
Monday marked 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.
Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300km of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment.
The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the biggest ore carriers of the day.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said when the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago, nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s growth.
“The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,” he said.
“Over the past 50 years, Rio Tinto has invested more than $37 billion to grow our Pilbara operations. We now employ 12,000 people who operate our network of mines, rail and ports, and sell our iron ore to customers all around the world. The relationships formed with local Pilbara communities, community and government partners, traditional owners, and business partners and customers have been vital to our success.
“Rio Tinto is proud to be part of WA’s transformation where new communities have been created, world-leading technology developed and international relationships forged.”
Rio Tinto’s 50th anniversary Groundbreakers exhibit has been touring the region. More information on the history is at riotintogroundbreakers.com.
The Houn Maru sets sail with the first shipment of iron ore from Dampier in 1966. Picture: Rio Tinto