Rio Tinto with 54% stake & China Baowu Steel with 46% stake have agreed to enter into a joint venture with respect to the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara in Western Australia by investing AUD 2 billion to develop the mine. 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. The project includes construction of a primary crusher and an 18 kilometre conveyor system linking it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant. Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 with first production anticipated in 2025. The construction phase will support approximately 1,600 jobs with the mine requiring about 800 ongoing operational roles which are expected to be filled by existing workers transitioning from other sites in the Paraburdoo mining hub. Rio Tinto and Baowu have also agreed to enter into an iron ore sales agreement at market prices covering a total of up to 126.5 million tonnes of iron ore over approximately 13 years. This volume represents Baowu’s 46 per cent interest in the anticipated 275 million tonnes of production from Western Range through the Joint Venture. Rio Tinto and Baowu’s partnership in the Pilbara dates back to the 2002 Bao-HI Joint Venture to develop the Eastern Range deposits in the Hamersley Ranges (Eastern Range) and Western Range, subject to a production cap of 200 million tonnes. It is now expected the production cap will be sourced entirely from Eastern Range, and this Transaction will continue Rio Tinto’s relationship with Baowu through development of Western Range. Rio Tinto has worked closely with the Traditional Owners on whose country Western Range is situated, the Yinhawangka People, to co-design a Social and Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project, designed to protect signiticant cultural and heritage values in the area. The plan, which was agreed with Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation and announced earlier this year, outlines protocols for joint decision-making on environmental matters and mine planning. Entry into the Transaction with Baowu is subject to satisfaction of various conditions precedent, including approvals from Rio Tinto shareholders, the Australian Government, Chinese Government regulatory agencies and the Western Australian Government, among others. Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo hub is comprised of three operating mines, Paraburdoo, Channar and Eastern Range. Western Range contains two deposits, 36W–50W and 55W–66W, which are located within the Hamersley Basin of Western Australia. The deposits’ mineralisation is primarily hosted by the Brockman Iron Formation with additional detrital mineralisation present. The 36W–50W and 55W-66W deposits contain a Measured Mineral Resource of 22 Mt at 59.1% Fe, Indicated Mineral Resource of 102 Mt at 61.5% Fe, and an Inferred Mineral Resource of 108 Mt at 61.4% Fe. The 36W–50W deposit contains a Proven Ore Reserve of 109 Mt at 62.1% Fe and a Probable Ore Reserve of 56 Mt at 61.7% Fe2. Mineral Resources are reported in addition to Ore Reserves. Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves are quoted on a 100 per cent basis.