Jobs boost as Rio gives $3.5b mine green light

North West Telegraph - - News - Stuart Condie

Rio Tinto has given the green light for a $3.5 bil­lion in­vest­ment in its new Koodaideri iron ore mine, re­plac­ing de­pleted ca­pac­ity else­where and cre­at­ing 600 per­ma­nent jobs in WA

Con­struc­tion on the project will start in 2019, with first pro­duc­tion in late 2021.

The mine will have an an­nual ca­pac­ity of 43 mil­lion tonnes — 7.5 per cent above ini­tial es­ti­mates — and it will un­der­pin the min­ing giant’s flag­ship Pil­bara blend iron ore.

Rio said the highly au­to­mated mine will be Rio’s low­est-cost con­trib­u­tor to the Pil­bara blend, and in­crease the higher-value lump com­po­nent from a cur­rent av­er­age of 35 per cent to about 38 per cent.

“Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto,” Rio Tinto chief ex­ec­u­tive Jean-Se­bastien Jac­ques said in a state­ment last week.

“It will be the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced mine we have ever built and sets a new bench­mark for the in­dus­try in terms of the adop­tion of au­to­ma­tion and the use of data to en­hance safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

As well as the mine it­self — which lies 35km north-west of Rio’s Yandi­coogina project and 110km from Newman — the miner plans a 166km rail line, an air­port, sup­port fa­cil­i­ties and ac­com­mo­da­tion for em­ploy­ees.

More than 2000 peo­ple will work on the con­struc­tion, with 600 per­ma­nent roles once the mine is op­er­a­tional. “This fur­ther in­vest­ment in our iron ore busi­ness is also a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar vote of con­fi­dence in Western Aus­tralia,” Mr Jac­ques said.

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