Rio Tinto restarts iron ore expansion programme in Canada with US$400 million investment

Rio Tinto has announced the re-commencement of its expansion programme in its Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) operations. The Board of IOC has approved new investment of US$401 million (Rio Tinto share US$235 million) to increase its annual concentrate capacity by four million tonnes to 22 million tonnes by 2012.
The investment is the first stage of a three-stage expansion programme at IOC that could increase concentrate annual capacity to 26 million tonnes. It was initially approved in March 2008 but suspended later that year as the global financial crisis impacted markets worldwide.
IOC Chairman and Rio Tinto chief executive, Iron ore Sam Walsh said the decision highlighted the degree of confidence in growing demand for iron ore, the attractiveness of investing in Canada and the quality and potential of IOC’s assets.
“Some uncertainty and potential volatility remain about global economic recovery, but global iron ore and steel markets have rebounded strongly and demand growth looks set to continue. This expansion programme is a significant step towards realising the full potential of our IOC operations. IOC’s assets and high quality product, position us strongly for future iron ore demand growth in North America, Europe and Asia.
The revised total project cost for the first stage expansion, including costs spent prior to suspension, is US$497 million (Rio Tinto share US$292 million), a US$22 million increase on the original estimate.

About IOC
Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in Canada and its customer base covers North American, European and Asian steel producers. The Company operates a mine, concentrator and a pelletizing plant in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as port facilities located in Sept-Îles (Quebec). It also operates a 418 kilometre railroad that links the mine to the port. IOC has approximately 1,900 employees and its major shareholder (RT equity 58.7%) and operator is the international mining group Rio Tinto, which has activities in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

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.

Contacts:

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

Faeth Birch
Conor McClafferty
Clare Hunt
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003

Media Relations, US
Tony Shaffer
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3612
Mobile: +1 202 256 3667

Media Relations, Australia
David Luff
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3620
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 850 205

Media Relations, Canada
Stefano Bertolli
Office +1 (0) 514 848 8151
Mobile +1 (0) 514 945 1800

Investor Relations, London
Mark Shannon
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1178
Mobile: +44 (0) 7917 576 597

David Ovington
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 2051
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 010 978

Investor Relations, North America
Jason Combes
Office: +1 (0) 801 204 2919
Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645

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

Simon Ellinor
Office +61 (0) 7 3361 4365
Mobile +61 (0) 439 102 811