Rio Tinto Update on WTSP 2 Expansion at Tom Price Iron Ore Mine
Rio Tinto has to date awarded contracts valued at over AUD 500 million to local Western Australian and Pilbara Aboriginal businesses to support the latest development of its Greater Tom Price Operations. Construction of the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 expansion commenced in early 2020 and to date more than 85% of spending on the project has been awarded to Western Australian and Pilbara Aboriginal businesses, directly through Rio Tinto or principal contractor Mondium. At peak construction, development will support a workforce of over 1,000 people with the majority employed by WA businesses, including Guma Warnii, Monadelphous, Mondium, Kerman Contracting, Whittens, North West Mining & Civil, MACA Civil, Linkforce and Aerison.
Rio Tinto approved the AUD 1 billion investment in the mine in November 2019 to sustain production capacity of its iron ore business in the Pilbara. The investment allows for the mining of existing and new deposits at WTS2 and includes construction of a new crusher and a 13-kilometre conveyor which will help lower greenhouse gas emissions from the mine by 3.5% compared to road haulage. First production from the new deposits at WTS2 is expected in the second half of 2021.
Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia 35 kilometres north-west of the Tom Price mine from where its ore is ultimately processed and loaded onto rail. Rio Tinto’s Greater Tom Price production hub includes the Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline Phase 1 and Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 satellite hubs. Rio Tinto commenced development of Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 in 2014 and expansion plans commenced in 2019. The investment in the WTS2 mine will help sustain the current workforce at Rio Tinto’s Greater Tom Price production hub. The project is expected to deliver an attractive internal rate of return with a capital intensity of about AUD 25 per tonne of production capacity.