Rio Tinto approves $3.5b iron ore mine in the Pilbara – by Cole Latimer, Hamish Hastie & Nathan Hondros (Sydney Morning Herald – November 29, 2018)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has approved a $US2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) investment in its futuristic Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The mine will be one of Rio Tinto’s most heavily automated operations, featuring robotic trains and advanced analytics as well as 3D reconstructions of the operation to help train new miners in simulated conditions.

“Koodaideri is a game-changer for Rio Tinto. It will be the most technologically advanced mine we have ever built and sets a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the adoption of automation and the use of data to enhance safety productivity,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said.

Rio Tinto had originally forecast an annual output of around 40 million tonnes of iron ore, however, it has now boosted that production to 43 million tonnes a year. Mr Jacques described the project as “a multibillion-dollar vote of confidence in Western Australia”.

Rio Tinto’s head of iron ore Chris Salisbury told Fairfax Media the miner has received its environmental approvals and now that it has announced this investment decision it can now lodge its final application with the West Australian government.

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