Green light for Koodaideri feasibility study
Rio Tinto has reactivated longdelayed plans for its $US2.2 billion ($2.94 billion) Koodaideri iron ore project, 110km west-northwest of Newman.
The mining giant advised yesterday it had approved a $30.9 million feasibility study on the greenfields project, expected to create 1600 jobs in construction and require 600 staff in operation.
Rio could make a final investment decision next year, with construction starting in 2019 and production beginning in 2021.
Koodaideri and the company’s 20mtpa Silvergrass project — which is on track to be in production by the second half of the year — are needed to hit and maintain Rio’s 360mtpa export target.
In recent times, Rio has pushed back development of new projects, allowing it to defer more than $US3 billion in capital spending.
The brownfields-first strategy involved sweating existing assets, looking for productivity improvements and seeking cost savings across its Pilbara network.
However, Rio’s iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the company remained firmly focused on its “value over volume” strategy and maximising returns through enhanced productivity.
“We are examining the Koodaideri project as an option to help us maintain our low-cost competitive position and assist in maintaining the Pilbara Blend product quality,” he said.
Preliminary studies for Koodaideri focused on an open pit operation, a 40mtpa processing plant, a 170km rail link to the company’s main line and associated infrastructure.
A bulk carrier docked at Rio Tinto's Parker Point facility in Dampier.