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Rio Tinto's Yandicoogina becomes first Australian mine to produce 50 million tpa

World Cement,

Rio Tinto's Yandicoogina mine, Australia’s largest-producing iron ore mine, broke the 50 million tpa mark for the first time on 29 December 2009.

The milestone was unexpected following the slump in demand for iron ore in early 2009; by April, the mine was producing at a rate only sufficient to record 40 million tpa. In addition, flooding had caused severe damage to rail operations. This achievement has highlighted the substantial efficiency gains achieved through Rio Tinto’s integrated network over the year.

Yandicoogina is situated in a rich channel iron deposit 95 km northwest of Newman, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Opened in 1998, though originally conceived on a far smaller scale, its first full year of operations produced 10.7 million t.

Since its most recent expansion through Junction South East in 2007 and 2008, Yandicoogina has been ramping up towards its nameplate annual capacity of 52 million t. Last year it produced 45.6 million t of saleable product.

Yandicoogina ore is marketed separately from Rio Tinto’s Pilbara Blend and Robe River products. The pisolite ore is highly sought after by steel mills for its ability to improve the smelting of other ores. It is successfully marketed in Rio Tinto’s major Asian destinations, where its sinter-efficient properties enhance its value in use in smelting fines.

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