|Rio Tinto: Infrastructure Developer|
Mining company, Rio Tinto, expects new world iron-ore production to be at least 800 million tonnes this decade.
It expects to capture 25 per cent of this, mainly through expansion in Australia and its new Simandou operation in Guinea, west Africa.
This will consolidate its role, not only as a major miner, but also as a major infrastructure developer.
For example, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Rio Tinto is spending $300 million on a new water-supply system, $300 million on its fuel network and $500 million on its electricity network.
Work will include bores, pipelines, fuel-storage facilities and gas-fired power stations.
The company is also spending over $1.5 billion on expansion of its port at Cape Lambert, to include dredging, a 1.4-kilometre jetty, a wharf, ore-handling facilities and buildings.
A similar amount will be spent on associated rail facilities.
At Simandou in Guinea, where early works are underway, Rio Tinto will develop a 670-kilometre railway, new port facilities, two 800-megawatt power stations and an extensive water network.
Simandou will be Rio Tinto's single-largest iron-ore mine.
The company's infrastructure expenditure in Australia and Guinea is providing significant work for engineering consultants based in Australia (including KBR, Monadelphous, Sinclair Knight Merz, SNC-Lavalin, SRK Consulting and Calibre Global), contractors and suppliers.
Reflecting on the company's early years in the Pilbara, Sam Walsh, its iron-ore chief, noted that "we created townships, mines, railways, ports, water and electricity infrastructure … we built schools, hospitals, shopping centres".
Such work will remain central to the company's operations.
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