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

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.

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Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section
27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical
facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding Rio
Tinto’s financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for
future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto’s
products, production forecasts and reserve and resource positions), are forward-looking
statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or
achievements of Rio Tinto, or industry results, to be materially different from any future
results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking

Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding Rio
Tinto’s present and future business strategies and the environment in which Rio Tinto will
operate in the future. Among the important factors that could cause Rio Tinto’s actual
results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forwardlooking
statements include, among others, levels of demand and market prices, the ability
to produce and transport products profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange
rates on market prices and operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty
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
of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking
statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this
announcement. Rio Tinto expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking (except as
required by applicable law, the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Takeover
Code”), the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial
Services Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release
publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to
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.
Nothing in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that future earnings per
share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily match or exceed its historical
published earnings per share.

Subject to the requirements of the Takeover Code, none of Rio Tinto, any of its officers or
any person named in this announcement with their consent or any person involved in the
preparation of this announcement makes any representation or warranty (either express
or implied) or gives any assurance that the implied values, anticipated results,
performance or achievements expressed or implied in forward-looking statements
contained in this announcement will be achieved.
For further information, please contact:

Media Relations, London
Christina Mills
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1154
Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 275 605

Nick Cobban
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003

Media Relations, US
Nancy Ives
Mobile: +1 619 540 3751
Media Relations, Australia

Amanda Buckley
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Alison Smith
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Investor Relations, London
Nigel Jones
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Mobile: +44 (0) 7917 227 365

David Ovington
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Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 010 978
Investor Relations, Australia

Dave Skinner
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3628
Mobile: +61 (0) 408 335 309

Investor Relations, North America
Jason Combes
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Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645


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