The Koodaideri deposit is located in the Hamersley Range, WA.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
RIO Tinto has poured $30.9 million into a feasibility study of its Koodaideri greenfields iron ore deposit in WA, which could see construction begin in 2019 and first ore delivered by 2021.
The $2.2 billion project, which had been in the planning pipeline for some time, was set to replace existing production in the Pilbara, with an estimated capacity of about 40 million tonnes per year.
Pre feasibility for the project released in November 2016 outlined development of a dry crushing and screening plant, non-process infrastructure, product stockyards, a rail loop and load out, and 170km rail link.
The 2017 feasibility study would focus on increasing Rio Tinto’s knowledge of the orebody and a variety of timing, capital and scale options.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the company would be investing further in the Pilbara with local businesses and suppliers, and firms outside the State.
“The Koodaideri development will require an expected 1600 construction jobs and a further 600 operational staff if approved,” Mr Salisbury said.
“We remain firmly focused on our value over volume strategy and maximising returns through enhanced productivity.
“We are examining the Koodaideri project as an option to help us maintain our low cost competitive position and assist in maintaining the Pilbara Blend product quality.”
A final decision on the project will be made following the completion of the feasibility study and board review.