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Rio Tinto, China Baowu Enter Into JV On Western Range Iron Ore Project In Pilbara

Rio Tinto (54 per cent) and China Baowu Steel Group Co. Ltd (46 percent) have agreed to enter into a joint venture with respect to the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia, investing $2 billion ($1.3 billion Rio Tinto share) to develop the mine, Rio Tinto said in a statement.

According to the company, Western Range's annual production capacity of 25 million tonnes of iron ore will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend from Rio Tinto's existing Paraburdoo mining hub. The project includes construction of a primary crusher and an 18 kilometre conveyor system linking it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant.

The company expects to begin construction in early 2023 with first production anticipated in 2025. The construction phase will support approximately 1,600 jobs with the mine requiring about 800 ongoing operational roles which are expected to be filled by existing workers transitioning from other sites in the Paraburdoo mining hub.

Rio Tinto and Baowu have also agreed to enter into an iron ore sales agreement at market prices covering a total of up to 126.5 million tonnes of iron ore over approximately 13 years. This volume represents Baowu's 46 per cent interest in the anticipated 275 million tonnes of production from Western Range through the Joint Venture.

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