Rio Tinto invests US$500 million for regional power upgrade in the Pilbara
Rio Tinto has announced an investment of over US$500 million in cleaner, more sustainable power generation to support its expansion of iron ore mining capacity in Western Australia.
It will build generation and transmission infrastructure near Karratha worth US$503 million (US$397 million Rio Tinto share) to supply electricity to its port and mine operations. The new power station will be constructed adjacent to the 7 Mile Rail Operations site.
It will use natural gas turbines, resulting in a significant reduction in emission rates compared with the two steam power stations currently in operation at the Cape Lambert and Dampier ports, which will be decommissioned.
As part of the investment, Rio Tinto will build a 220kv power line from the new power station to Cape Lambert. The power station will be commissioned in 2010.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore group chief executive Sam Walsh said the open cycle gas turbines would emit about 25 per cent less carbon dioxide than the existing steam turbines.
“At an annual production rate of 220 million tonnes of iron ore – a rate we expect to reach in Q4 of 2008 – we will be saving 200,000 tonnes a year of greenhouse gas emissions by moving to open cycle turbines,” he said.
Rio Tinto is responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to its mines, ports and associated towns. This network forms a significant component of the Pilbara’s North West Interconnected System.
Rio Tinto will study options to increase power generation further to support future expansion plans in the Pilbara.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE 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.
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 statements.
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