Rio Tinto has announced a multimillion-dollar investment to kick-start initial work at what will become the company’s first intelligent mine in the Pilbara.
The giant miner will invest $146 million in the Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia, with the funding to be used for detailed engineering work on key elements of the project, the development of a rail construction camp and the first stage of the Koodaideri accommodation camp.
The work will be undertaken ahead of the final investment decision for the project, which is expected to be announced by the end of this year.
Rio Tinto, which recently completed the sale of its remaining coal assets in Queensland, Australia, said Koodaideri would become the company’s first intelligent mine, incorporating the latest in high-tech advances in the industry and utilising an increased level of automation and robotics.
If approved, this large scale, low-cost, high-quality project would create over 2,000 jobs during construction and 600 permanent operational roles, forming a new production hub for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara for decades to come.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 with first production expected in 2021.
This is an important step for our Koodaideri project which will be a significant leap forward for the global mining industry and Rio Tinto,” Mr Salisbury continued.
“We’ve been building mines in the Pilbara for over 50 years, and, subject to final approvals, Koodaideri will incorporate all of that knowledge to enable us to build the smartest, safest and most efficient mine we’ve ever constructed.”
“The deployment of leading edge technology will deliver a step-change in both safety and productivity for our business.”