Rio Tinto Pilbara WA iron ore mine expansion

Rio Tinto Pilbara WA iron ore mine expansion at Yandicoogina

New expansion of Rio Tinto WA iron ore mine to begin in 2016

Rio Tinto is bucking the trend in iron ore mine site developments and forging ahead with an expansion of its Yandicoogina mine in the Western Australian Pilbara.

Home to some of the biggest iron ore mining operations in the world, the Pilbara has been the centre of  attention for some time as commodity prices drop. Falling iron ore prices have seen junior iron ore miners struggle to make a profit and even the bigger miners are reducing operating costs where they can.

Good news from Rio Tinto

This being said, we received some good news today from Rio Tinto, who have decided to ramp up their WA iron ore mining operation by announcing a new expansion project.

This new iron ore project, “Yandicoogina Pocket and Billiard South Iron Ore Mine,” presents a substantial addition to Rio Tinto’s WA mining operation.

Yandicoogina is sitting on top of a substantial iron ore deposit in the Hamersley Ranges and is expected to boost Rio Tinto’s iron ore exports over the life of the mine.

“a viable operation for 16 years”

The project is so big, it’s expected to remain a viable mining operation for 16 years, and if it gets the go-ahead from Rio’s investors and board, construction could commence in 2016 and production in 2017. Of course there are also the usual obstacles such as obtaining the relevant internal and external approvals.

The current mine site is expected to export around 270 million tonnes in full year. Rio Tinto is banking on the mining expansion to turn this particular site into a major part of its iron ore division. As far as ramping up exports, Rio is looking at some 360 million tonnes per year.

“Rio Tinto wants to dominate iron ore mining in Australia”

The mine expansion is all part of Rio Tinto’s bigger plan to dominate iron ore mining production in Australia. Despite iron ore being at it’s lowest price for five years, Rio Tinto sees great opportunity in increasing it’s iron ore exports because they are still able to make a profit due to their low production costs, which are estimated to be around the $50 mark.

Currently as of the first week of October 2014, iron ore has rebounded slightly to US$78.30, up from a low US$77.50 earlier in the week.

Still a lot of activity in WA mines

Despite what you read in the newspapers and hear on the TV news channels, there is still a lot of  iron ore mining activity in WA. Mining jobs are still advertised on the mining jobs boards like SEEK and Indeed. At iMINCO we receive dozens of emails from recruitment companies and contractors who are looking for qualified workers to operate machinery and all manner of operational roles.

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