Rio Tinto invests $749 million in Pilbara iron ore mine

(Reuters) - Rio Tinto Ltd said on Wednesday it had approved a $749 million investment in its Greater Tom Price operations to help sustain production capacity in its iron ore business in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The Anglo-Australian miner said the investment in the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 mine will facilitate mining of existing and new deposits and includes construction of a new crusher as well as a 13-kilometre conveyor.

The new conveyor system will help lower greenhouse gas emissions from the mine by 3.5%, compared with road haulage, the company said in an exchange filing.

Construction will start in the first quarter of 2020, with first ore from the crusher expected in 2021.

“Production of high-quality Brockman ore will support the company’s flagship Pilbara Blend, which continues to be the preferred baseload product for China’s steel mills,” Rio Tinto said.

The company said the project is expected to deliver internal rate of return with a capital intensity of about $25 per tonne of production capacity.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva