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Rio Tinto to invest over a $1 billion in its existing iron ore operations in Australia and Canada
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Australian international mining major Rio Tinto is to invest over $1 billion in its existing Australian and Canadian operations. The amount will go into the group’s existing iron ore op0erations in the two countries. In a statement, Rio Tinto said it had approved a $933 million investment to extend the life of the Marandoo iron ore mine by 16 years to 2030.
The Marandoo mine is part of the Anglo-Australian miner’s large operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Rio Tinto will also invest more cash in its Canadian iron ore joint venture. Rio said it has given the go-ahead to a further $277 million investment in the next phase of a project that will ultimately raise the Iron Ore Co. of Canada’s concentrate production capacity by 40% to 26 million tons per year.
Currently, Rio Tinto’s Canadian operation, the Iron Ore Co. of Canada, is the country’s biggest iron ore producer and is 58.7% owned by Rio Tinto. The investment is expected to extend the mine’s life by developing adjacent reserves below the water table.
According to Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Australia chief executive, the extension plays an important role in sustaining the Polbara operation’s annual capacity rate, which complements major expansion programs in the region. Walsh added that with the high iron and low phosphorus content, Marandoo’s Marra Mamba ore assists in maintaining the Pilbara Blend grade requirements and maximizing the value of Rio’s integrated Pilbara operations.
The Rio Tinto Group is a diversified, British-Australian, multinational mining and resources group with headquarters in London and Melbourne. Rio had grown through a long series of mergers and acquisitions to place itself among the world leaders in the production of many commodities, including aluminum, iron ore, copper, uranium, coal, and diamonds.
Although primarily focused on extraction of minerals, Rio Tinto also has significant operations in refining, particularly for refining bauxite and iron ore. The company has operations on six continents but is mainly concentrated in Australia and Canada, and owns gross assets valued at $81 billion through a complex web of wholly and partly owned subsidiaries.
Rio’s head office is in the United Kingdom while its Australian head office is in Melbourne. As of March 2009, Rio Tinto was the fourth-largest publicly listed mining company in the world with a market capitalization of approximately $34 billion.
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