Rio Tinto has completed a major expansion at Cape Lambert which will help the miner’s Pilbara operations become the largest in Australia.
Cape Lambert’s wharf B (CLB), was officially opened by West Australian Premier Colin Barnett yesterday, and is part of Rio’s wider expansion plans in the Pilbara where it plans to increase annual capacity to 353 million tonnes per annum.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Andrew Harding said the expansion signalled a capital expenditure saving of US$400 million “achieved mainly from our engineering and contracting strategies across this phase of the programme”.
"By running Australia's lowest-cost iron ore operations we will ensure the benefits continue to flow through to the bottom line,” Harding said.
The CLB system delivered first shipment in late August with ramp-up on schedule to reach a full run-rate by the end of the first half of 2014.
Rio said phase two expansion of the port, rail and power infrastructure is underway with a number of options for mine capacity growth are under
evaluation including incremental tonnes from low-cost productivity improvements, expansion of existing mines and the potential development of new mines.
The contract for the wharf expansion was awarded to John Holland in February.