Rio Tinto to enter nickel market with US$300 million Eagle Mine

Press release

1 Please refer to previously announced resources in the Rio Tinto 2006 Annual report
and financial statements

Rio Tinto to enter nickel market with US$300 million Eagle Mine
commitment

17 December 2007

Rio Tinto is to invest US$300 million in the development of Eagle, a high-grade nickel and
copper mine in Michigan, USA. Eagle will be the only primary nickel mine in the US and
first production is expected to begin in late 2009. Eagle is projected to deliver 16,000
tonnes of nickel per year over seven years until 2016. It will also produce valuable coproducts
of copper, platinum, palladium and cobalt.

Rio Tinto is also in final contract negotiation to develop a nickel mine at Sulawesi in
Indonesia, with an initial operation of 46,000 tonnes per year with first production
commencing by 2015. There is additional potential at Sulawesi of a similar size.
Rio Tinto Copper Group Chief Executive, Bret Clayton said, “Eagle gives Rio Tinto a
valuable opportunity to enter the market for nickel, a key input into stainless steel,
demand for which is rising strongly led by the development of new infrastructure in
developing economies, as well as rising demand for consumer products and the
development of associated processing plant and equipment.

“Eagle is just one of many projects that will add to Rio Tinto’s growth and value. It is a 4.1
million tonne1 high-grade nickel resource (3.6% nickel, 2.9% copper) in a highly
prospective region for additional nickel discoveries. Our exploration team discovered
Eagle in 2002 and we are now reviewing over 450,000 acres of mineral title we have in
the area. Our focus is on six further adjacent prospects that may have the potential to
extend significantly the mine life at current planned production rates.”
A two-year project construction phase will get underway in 2008, upon receipt of
additional approvals expected in 2008. Three required permits were granted on 14
December 2007. Eagle’s mine permit is the first issued by the State of Michigan under
the state’s 2004 nonferrous metallic mining law, considered among the most stringent in
the US. The project is located in northwest Marquette County near the City of Marquette.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio
Tinto plc, a London listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the
Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products
are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals
(borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly
represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America,
Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

Cont./
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27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities
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results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forwardlooking
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and economic conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors,
activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or regulation and such
other risk factors identified in Rio Tinto’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed
with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) or Form 6-Ks
furnished to the SEC. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light
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required by applicable law, the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Takeover
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Services Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release
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reflect any change in Rio Tinto’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in
events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
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share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily match or exceed its historical
published earnings per share.

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any person named in this announcement with their consent or any person involved in the
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performance or achievements expressed or implied in forward-looking statements
contained in this announcement will be achieved.
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