Government of Western Australia Official Site


Expansion to Pilbara mine approved



The WA Government has approved the expansion of Rio Tinto’s Silvergrass iron ore mine, near Tom Price in the Pilbara. State Development Minister Bill Marmion said capital expenditure on the project was expected to be $441 million.

“This project will create about 500 jobs during construction and an additional 25 operational positions once the expanded mine is fully operational,” the Minister said. “Expanding production from Silvergrass will allow Rio Tinto to sustain the quality of their Pilbara blend product and maintain current production levels. The expansion provides a significant boost to the Western Australian resources sector and shows our State continues to be an attractive place for large-scale investment.”

The Silvergrass proposal was approved under the existing State Agreement between Rio Tinto and the State Government. The construction phase of the project is expected to start immediately.

Over the 12-year mine life, Silvergrass is expected to produce 219 million tonnes of low-phosphorus iron ore. When the NIT and Silvergrass stages are combined, the mine will have peak annual production of 20 million tonnes and is expected to hit that rate by 2018.

In 2015, Western Australia’s iron ore exports were valued at $49.8 billion. In August 2016, Rio Tinto celebrated 50 years of iron ore exports from the Pilbara.