Rio Tinto, the world's second largest mining company plans to invest $833 million in major power and fuel supply projects as part of its drive to increase iron ore production capacity in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
This new investment in Pilbara, comes after the London-based company last week said it would invest $310 million in building a new coastal water-supply system for its Pilbara mining operations.
The Anglo-Australian miner will spend $520 million in upgrading its integrated Pilbara power and gas network and a further $313 million on infrastructure facilities.
The projects are needed to support the miner's annual production capacity of 283 million tonnes (Mt/a), and the fuel infrastructure project will also help support the next phase of potential expansion, to 333 Mt/a in 2015.
Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio's iron ore and Australian business said, "This investment marks yet another significant step towards the expansion of iron ore production by 50 per cent in the five years to 2015, a timeline we recently brought forward by six months. These projects provide certainty in meeting our power and fuel supply requirements, both now and into the future."
Rio Tinto's arch domestic rival, BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, is also expanding its Pilbara iron ore production capacity to 240Mtpa by 2013.