The USD 676 million will be used to bring forward engineering work for the longest lead-time components of port and rail infrastructure, without increasing the overall cost of the expansion program.
Mr Sam Walsh Rio Tinto chief executive, Iron Ore and Australia said "Thanks to this faster pace of expansion we will be bringing extra tonnes to market earlier. The demand outlook continues to be strong with supply lagging elsewhere in the industry and we are seeing new supplies proving slower to materialize than predicted. We are taking the opportunity to bring forward the next phase of our major capacity expansion to reap the benefits early and at no additional cost."
The early port works principally comprise the assembly of additional construction accommodation, the continuation of dredging, marine works and stockyard earth works contractors and the procurement of key equipment. The rail-related funding will enable early engineering and accelerated procurement of long-lead items such as rail plant.
Studies will continue through this year to determine the best mine development path to meet this schedule, as will studies for supporting infrastructure such as utilities, fuel and accommodation.
Rio Tinto's integrated operations expansion to 333 million tonne per annum is being achieved through this sequence
1. 225 million tonne t per annum by end of Q1 2011 Dampier port systems efficiencies
2. 230 million tonne per annum by end of Q1 2012 - Dampier port incremental
3. 283 million tonne per annum by end of H2 2013 - Cape Lambert B 1st 53 million tonne per annum increment
4. 333 million tonne per annum in H1 2015 - Cape Lambert B 2nd 50 million tonne per annum increment (By steelguru)