Rio Tinto green lights $2.6 billion investment in Western Australia mine

Rio Tinto has given the green light on Thursday to develop a A$3.5 billion iron ore mine

Rio Tinto green lights $3.5 billion iron ore mine
Source: Bloomberg

Rio Tinto will develop its most technologically advanced mine, with the full approval of a $2.6 billion (A$3.5 billion) investment in the Koodaideri iron ore mine.

Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques says Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto.

“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 we pursue our value over volume approach, targeted high-quality investments such as Koodaideri will ensure we continue to deliver value for our shareholders and Australians.” Mr Jacques said.

The $3.5 billion-dollar project will begin in 2019, with first production beginning in 2021. The technologically advanced mine, Koodaideri will create an epi-centre for Rio Tinto’s world-class iron ore business, incorporating a processing plant and infrastructure including a 166-kilometre rail line connecting the mine to the existing network.

The mine will have annual capacity of 43 million tonnes and will replace depleted capacity elsewhere.

Rio Tinto expects production across 19 sites will create $20.3 billion in value and $20.3billion in exports.

Technologically advanced mining

Koodaideri will feature technology-fist mining, using autonomous trucks, trains and drills, and also implementing systems that connect all components Rio Tinto’s mining value chain.

The development will consolidate everything Rio Tinto has learned from its studies into finding advanced ways to extract minerals, while reducing environmental impacts and improving safety.

Being dubbed the ‘the mine of the future’ Koodaideri has more than 70 innovative approaches to mining including:

• a digital replica of the processing plant, accessible in real time by workers in the field;
• fully integrated mine automation and simulation systems;
• advanced automation including an automated workshop, and;
• numerous data analytics capabilities and control loops to optimise production and reduce downtime.

The development remains subject to final Western Australian government approval.

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