Rio Tinto to invest $1 billion in Australia's Hope Downs iron ore mine

Global mining giant, Rio Tinto said yesterday that the company would jointly develop the $1.6 billion Hope Downs iron ore project in Western Australia with private partner Hope Downs Iron Ore Pty Ltd.

The joint venture will build the Hope Downs mine in south-eastern Pilbara, 30-km north of Newman at an estimated capital cost of $1.2 billion, which will be shared equally by the JV partners.

Additionally, Rio Tinto will spend $425 million towards capital expenditure for the construction of rail, rolling stock and power infrastructure for the project.

The Hopes Downs mine will be linked to Rio Tinto's existing rail and port infrastructure in Pilbara through a 52-km railway line connecting to the Lang Hancock railway.

The new open pit will have an annual production capacity of 15 million tonnes of high-quality iron ore. Rio Tinto plans to start the construction of the mine in early 2011, subject to obtaining necessary regulatory and other clearances. Commercial production from the mine is anticipated in 2013.
The project will include a village for 600 staff, mine dewatering, shovel and truck fleet and wet ore processing facilities.

The mine's recoverable iron ore reserves in proved and probable categories are estimated at 137 million tonnes with an average grade of 63.0-63.2 per cent iron content.