Tuesday 23rd Jul, 2019

Rio Tinto mine expansion approved by EPA

Rio Tinto has been given the greenlight by the EPA to expand the West Angelas iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
Copyright © 2018 Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto has been given the greenlight by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to expand the West Angelas iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The Environment Minister’s recommendation is subject to conditions, including the protection of national park water resources and endangered ghost bats.

Rio Tinto expects to minimise the impacts of clearing native vegetation to flora, fauna and inland waters, and address West Angelas’ rehabilitation in its mine closure plan.

EPA deputy chair Robert Harvey acknowledged “the scientific rigour of the environmental assessment work and conditions to ensure there is no groundwater drawdown impacts on Karijini National Park.”

“This assessment work and recommended conditions constitute a comprehensive approach to management of environmental impacts, following a proactive approach by the proponent and extensive consultation with the EPA,” Harvey said.

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West Angelas’ Deposits C, D and G will be enlarged by 4100 hectares to 26,700 hectares to sustain production levels at 34 million tonnes a year with the growth project.

It is part of Rio Tinto’s Robe River joint venture with Mitsui and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal to produce premium Pilbara Blend iron ore and Robe Valley lump and fines in the coming years.

“The additional Robe Valley deposits will enable us to continue to provide a highly valued product to our long-term customers across Asia,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said.

Rio Tinto plans begin construction this year with an expected production start in 2021.