Rio Tinto Studying Koodaideri Iron Ore Development

The mining camp at the Kodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia.
Rio Tinto has budgeted A$30.9 million for a feasibility study of development of its Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The study will examine the project as Rio Tinto’s next potential major mining development in the Pilbara, with production intended to replace existing production.

A prefeasibility study of the Koodaideri project was released in November 2016, outlining a project that would process 40 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of high-grade iron ore through a dry crushing and screening plant. Construction would include nonprocess infrastructure, product stockyards, a rail loop and load-out facilities, and a 170-km rail link. Capital required was estimated at $2.2 billion.

The current feasibility study will build on the prefeasibility study and consider a range of capital, timing, and scale options. If construction were to begin by late 2019, first ore could be delivered by 2021. Proved and probable reserves at Koodaideri currently total 594 million mt at a grade 61.6% iron.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury said, “We are pleased to be investing a further A$30.9 million in Western Australia, which will be spent with local businesses and suppliers as well as firms outside the state. The Koodaideri development will require an expected 1,600 construction jobs and a further 600 operational staff if approved.

“We remain firmly focused on our value over volume strategy and maximizing 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 our Pilbara Blend product quality.”

The study will focus on obtaining necessary consent and permits, increasing the company’s understanding of the orebody and technical elements, and providing data necessary to validate the project.

A final decision on progressing the Koodaideri iron ore development will be made following completion of the feasibility study and a review by the Rio Tinto investment committee and board.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 07 -