NORTHEN Asia’s rapacious demand for Australian iron ore continues.
However, instead of China, who’s ravenous appetite for steel has fuelled large mine expansions in WA’s Pilbara region, this time it is the Japanese who have hit back with a $7.5 billion deal with global miner Rio Tinto.
Last week Rio agreed to a contract to supply about 150 million tonnes of iron ore to Japanese partner, Nippon Steel over 20 years or more as well as the transfer of a 47 per cent interest in the Beasley River iron ore deposit in the Pilbara.
The deal also involves an expansion study for Rio’s Hail Creek coking coal mine in Queensland and various technical exchanges.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Renwick said the deal, in which iron ore will be supplied at the annual reference price, deepened the company’s relationship with their Japanese partners.
“This stronger relationship will underpin several new developments, including the expansion of the Yandicoogina iron ore mine in Western Australia and a proposed expansion of the Hail Creek coking coal mine in Queensland,” he said.
It also is another step as Rio explores synergies between its Hamersley Iron and Robe River assets.
In early January 2004, Rio Tinto announced closer cooperation in the management of Hamersley’s and Robe’s assets in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Hamersley Iron is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto while Robe River is a joint venture.
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