The Australian metal and mining major Rio Tinto will be reportedly investing over $1.5 billion in its West Angelas and Robe Valley iron ore projects located in the Pilbara.
As per trusted sources, Rio Tinto will contribute $820 million for a 53 percent stake, which can sustain production capacity of two projects that are part of the Robe River joint venture. The joint venture includes Japanese firms Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and Mitsui, cite sources.
According to sources familiar with the development, the Japanese partners of Rio Tinto will invest $967 which will be directed toward the development of the deposits named as Mesa B, C, and H, at Robe Valley and $579 million to develop Deposits C and D at the existing West Angelas operation. The company stated that the investment would enable the partners to sustain production of their finest products which include the Pilbara Blend, Robe Valley lump, and fines products.
Chris Salisbury, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, said in a statement that the development of West Angelas will assist in sustained manufacturing of the Pilbara Blend, which is the industry’s finest iron ore. Moreover, additional Robe Valley deposits will help Rio continue to provide its high-value products to long-term customers across Asia.
Salisbury further mentioned that the approval of the two projects highlights the strong pipeline of development options as the company stays focused on its value-over-volume strategy. Rio’s funding commitment toward both the projects forms a part of its existing replacement capital guidance amounting to roughly $2.7 billion from 2018 to 2020.
Construction of both the projects is expected to commence by 2019 and create 1200 jobs, with the first ore due in 2021. In addition, over 30 existing haul trucks will be enhanced with self-driving autonomous haulage system technology to run across both the operations.