23/09/2008 - 11:48

Rio injects $300m into Pannawonica

23/09/2008 - 11:48

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Rio Tinto and its partners will invest up to $300 million upgrading the town Pannawonica as it develops its $1 billion Mesa A/Warramboo iron ore project.

Rio Tinto and its partners will invest up to $300 million upgrading the town Pannawonica as it develops its $1 billion Mesa A/Warramboo iron ore project.

The town was built in 1970 and is owned by Rio subsidiary Robe River Mining. It has a population of about 1000 residents.

The $US247 million ($A295 million) investment, of which Rio's share is $US131 million, will provide for the refurbishment of 238 houses, construction of 10 new houses, the upgrade of the airstrip for jet services and the establishment of a construction village.

"It was important to invest in the Pannawonica community in parallel with Rio Tinto's major investment in a new mine in the Robe Valley," Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh said.

"Pannawonica is a unique community in the Pilbara which is wholly supported by our mining operations.

"The community has been boosted by the news late last year of the development of the Mesa A project and by today's announcement of the co-commitment to substantial re-investment in the township."

In November last year, Rio announced it would develop the Mesa A/Warramboo project which will have an initial production rate of 20 million tonnes per annum before being ramped up to 25mpta by 2011.

 

Below is the full announcement:

 

Rio Tinto has approved the investment of US$247 million (Rio Tinto share US$131 million) in the Pilbara town of Pannawonica to support the new Robe Valley iron ore mine of Mesa A/Warramboo, which is currently under construction.

The infrastructure upgrade, subject to government and external approvals, would increase the amount and standard of accommodation available to sustain mining in the Robe Valley.

The US$246 million will provide for:

refurbishment of 238 houses
construction of 10 new houses
upgrading of airstrip for jet services
new service station and workshop
a mining operations village
a renovated meals centre
upgrades to town buildings, infrastructure and landscaping
a construction village

Rio Tinto chief executive Iron Ore Sam Walsh said: "it was important to invest in the Pannawonica community in parallel with Rio Tinto's major investment in a new mine in the Robe Valley".

"Pannawonica is a unique community in the Pilbara which is wholly supported by our mining operations. The community has been boosted by the news late last year of the development of the Mesa A project and by today's announcement of the co-commitment to substantial re-investment in the township," Mr Walsh said.

In November 2007 Rio Tinto committed US$901 million (Rio Tinto share US$478 million) to develop the Mesa A/Warramboo mine, about 50 kilometres from Pannawonica. Mesa A/Warramboo will have an initial production of 20 million tonnes per annum, increasing to 25 million tonnes by 2011 (Rio Tinto attributable share 53 per cent) and it
will sustain production of Robe Valley pisolite ore at 32 million tonnes per annum over the next decade.

Pannawonica, which is 1,430 kilometres north of Perth, was built in 1970 by Robe River Mining. It has a population of about 1,000 and is the only closed mining town remaining in the Pilbara. Rio Tinto provides all infrastructure, housing and services in the town.

 

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