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Rio Tinto opens new iron ore mine in the Pilbara’s Robe Valley

World Cement,

Rio Tinto has started producing iron ore from the US$901 million (Rio Tinto share US$478 million) Mesa A/Warramboo mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The open-cut iron ore mine, about 50 km west of Pannawonica, will have an initial production of 20 million tpa, increasing to 25 million t by 2011.

The first full-length (163 car) train left the mine late on Friday 19 February, following the 49 km rail extension to connect to the Deepdale railway running from Pannawonica to the Cape Lambert port.

Construction of the Robe River Joint Venture (Rio Tinto share 53%) mine and rail extension started in November 2007. The mine will employ about 220 people, drawn progressively from the existing workforce at Mesa J and new employees.

Total high-grade reserves across the Mesa A/Warramboo deposits are estimated at 249 million t, with a total mine life of 11 years. It will sustain production of the sought- after Robe Valley pisolite ore at 32 million tpa as production from the Mesa J deposit decreases.

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