Source: Steelguru- 03 Aug 2007
It is reported that Rio Tinto and its JV partner Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, will spend USD 350 million on a fast tracked expansion of their new Hope Downs iron ore project in the Pilbara region of the state of Western Australia.
Rio Tinto said that it expects the expansion to be completed by early 2009, when the mine would have the capacity to produce of 30 million tonnes of iron ore per annum. Work on the USD 1 billion projects began in April 2006 and it is expected to begin production by early 2008. It was initially intended to have a capacity of 22 million tonnes per annum.
Mr Sam Walsh CEO of Rio Tinto said that the rapid expansion of Hope Downs was an integral part of plans to lift annual iron ore production in the Pilbara region to 220 million tonnes by early 2009. He said "Thanks to continued strong market conditions we have been able to bring this highly value accretive expansion forward by one year. We are currently investigating other opportunities to increase our Australian iron ore business to about 320 million tonnes in the future.'
Hope Downs is a high grade Marra Mamba iron ore deposit. Rio Tinto said it would contribute to the Pilbara Blend, a new product first shipped in July, which comprises Brockman and Marra Mamba ore extracted from nine of Rio Tinto Iron Ore's 11 mines in the Pilbara region.
Steelguru- 03 Aug 2007