London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 July 2008 – Rio Tinto – a London and New York-listed international mining group headquartered in the United Kingdom – is to invest US$2.15 billion (R17 billion) in major expansion of its Corumbá iron ore mine in Brazil, boosting annual capacity of the mine more than six-fold from 2 million to 12.8 million tonnes per annum.
Announcing this in a news release here, the company said new production would begin in the fourth quarter of 2010. It would also undertake a feasibility study – to be completed by mid-2009 – for a Phase II expansion that would almost double capacity to 23.2 million tonnes per annum.
The release added that the new Corumba investment brought to nearly US$11 billion (R88 billion) the total capital expenditure that Rio Tinto had committed since 2003 to develop its iron ore business. Rio Tinto outlined a global pathway late last year to grow iron ore production to more than 600Mtpa from 179Mtpa in 2007.
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said; “This is a very significant step forward in our drive to extend iron ore operations beyond the Pilbara region in Western Australia. The development of Corumbá reinforces our capability to expand capacity rapidly to match increased demand wherever it occurs. The move strengthens our position as the only iron ore producer with a truly global production and growth platform, giving us access to a wide range of markets,” he added.
The news release revealed that US$2.11 billion (16.8 billion) would be used for expansion of the Corumbá mine and its associated logistics chain (100 % Rio Tinto), including US$121 million (R960 million) in long-lead items. A further US$42 million (R330 million) would fund the Phase II feasibility study.
It added that two new ports would be constructed together with improved infrastructure networks to link the 2 500-km, multi-national supply chain. In addition, a new long-term trans-shipping services contract would enable ocean-going vessels to be topped up before shipping to markets.