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Port expansion boosts Pilbara iron ore exports


Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett officially opened Phase 1 of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Cape Lambert Port B facility in October 2014, in another sign of confidence in the iron ore sector.

Mr Barnett congratulated Rio Tinto and its partners in the Robe River Iron Associates Joint Venture, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., on their commitment to WA. “Rio Tinto’s investment in expanding its iron ore export capacity is excellent news for Western Australia and the Pilbara,” he said.

The two new berths and supporting infrastructure in Phase 1 will enable Cape Lambert’s annual export capacity to grow to 139 million tonnes from 86 million tonnes previously. With completion of Phase 2 currently under construction in 2015, the capacity will rise to 209 million tones.

Construction at Cape Lambert commenced in 1970 and the first shipment took place in October 1972, and approximately 8 million tonnes was shipped in its first year of operation. In 2012, 80 million tonnes was shipped through Cape Lambert’s Port A facilities.

Iron ore production in Western Australia increased 12 per cent to 512.6 million tonnes in 2012-13, representing 26 per cent of world production. Rio Tinto accounted for almost half the State’s 2012-13 iron ore production at 239 million tonnes. The iron ore industry contributed approximately $3.65billion in royalty payments to the State in 2012-13, which the Premier said was vital to the Government’s ability to provide schools, hospitals, roads and services across Western Australia.

Mr Barnett said: “The project has been accompanied by an expansion of housing, and upgrade of community facilities in Wickham, and impressively, this facility is being officially opened only 16 months after Rio Tinto took its final investment decision to commence construction.”