Rio Tinto, China's Baowu Steel agree on joint venture to develop iron ore in W. Australia
Mining group Rio Tinto on Wednesday announced that it will team up with China Baowu Steel Group to develop a Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with a joint investment of 2 billion U.S. dollars.
According to a media release, Rio Tinto contributes 1.3 billion dollars and Baowu invests 700 million dollars.
The venture is expected to help develop the mine by constructing a primary crusher and an 18 km conveyor system, linking it up to an existing processing plant in Paraburdoo, a mining town in the Pilbara region.
"Western Range's annual production capacity of 25 million tonnes of iron ore will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend from Rio Tinto's existing Paraburdoo mining hub," said the multinational mining group.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with the first production anticipated in 2025.
"We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Baowu for more than four decades, shipping more than 200 million tonnes of iron ore under our original joint venture," said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott. "We are looking forward to extending our partnership at Western Range."
Meanwhile, Baowu Resources Chairman Shi Bing regarded the signing of the joint venture agreement for the Western Range Project as "a significant event in the history of cooperation between Baowu and Rio Tinto."
"We hope that the two parties will deepen the mutually beneficial and win-win partnership, continue to carry forward the spirit of sincere cooperation and further expand cooperation in more fields and aspects on the basis of working together to operate the project well," Shi said.
The project is still pending approvals from the Chinese and Australian governments.