PERTH (miningweeekly.com) – The Western Australian government has welcomed a decision by mining major Rio Tinto to construct new stackers at its Paraburdoo mine, in the Pilbara.
Rio will spend about $39-million to replace the stackers, creating nearly 100 jobs in the process.
The design of the new stackers is currently under way, and fabrication is expected to start later this year, while installation and commissioning will be completed by 2020.
Rio said last week that the design phase would create about 10 to 15 Perth-based roles, and that about 80 Western Australia-based roles were likely to be required during implementation. Fabrication, including pre-assembly, would take place in a local Perth workshop, and up to 30 Pilbara-based roles would be required to prepare the site and install the plant.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore CEO Chris Salisbury commented this was great news, not only for Paraburdoo, but also for jobs in Western Australia.
“This project is an important part of our sustaining capital programme for 2018 and we’re pleased to be supporting local businesses with this significant body of work.
“A further feature of our commitment to local jobs is our local procurement programme that we launched last year. The programme already has over 750 business registrations and more than 200 packages of work placed online.”
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said the construction and replacement of these stackers would allow Rio to work out of Paraburdoo for years to come.
"The construction of the new stackers provides opportunities for local businesses which are well placed to win a majority of contracts generated by the works.”
The old stackers were part of the mine’s original infrastructure, stacking the very first load of iron-ore from Paraburdoo in 1972. In 46 years of operation, the have stacked just over 800-million tonnes of iron-ore, requiring only minimal structural changes throughout that time.
The project forms part of Rio’s broader sustaining capital programme estimated at $1-billion a year over the next three years. The company is also investing in replacing depleting assets with an estimated $2.2-billion expected to be spent on replacement mines over the next three years.