Rio Tinto to kick off pre-striping at massive Koodaideri iron ore mine

Koodaideri mine. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto)

The world’s second largest miner, Rio Tinto, (ASX, LON, NYSE:RIO) has awarded a A$95 million (about $64 million) contract to NRW Holdings to begin pre-stripping activities at the Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Work, to begin in November and expected to last for about 78 weeks, will be focused on developing initial mining pre-strip and infrastructure to enable the start of mining operations.

Koodaideri will have an initial annual capacity of 43 million tonnes, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio Tinto’s flagship iron ore product

The contract includes mobilization and site establishment, clearing, drilling and blasting, as well as construction of access roads and in-pit facilities.

At its peak, NRW expects to have 150 people working on site.

In November, Rio approved a $2.6 billion investment in the Koodaideri operation, which will be the company’s first intelligent mine, incorporating the latest in high-tech advances in the industry and using an increased level of automation and robotics.

The Koodaideri project is located about 22 miles north-west of Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina mine, and about 68 miles from the town of Newman.

The operation will have a capacity of 43 million tonnes of iron ore a year, but could be expanded to yield 70 million tonnes or more at a later date. Production is expected by the end of 2021.

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