【Ferro-alloys.com】Diversified miner Rio Tinto has delivered first ore from the $3.1-billion Gudai-Darri iron-ore mine, bringing online its first greenfield mine in the Pilbara, in more than a decade.
Production from the mine will continue to ramp up through the remainder of this year and is expected to reach full capacity during 2023.
With an expected life of more than 40 years and an annual capacity of 43-million tonnes, Gudai-Darri will underpin future production of Pilbara Blend product. A feasibility study to support an expansion of this new hub is also progressing.
The mine’s commissioning and ramp-up is expected to increase Rio’s iron-ore production volumes and improve product mix from the Pilbara in the second half of this year.
Full-year shipments guidance for 2022 remains at 320-million to 335-million tonnes, subject to risks around the ramp up of new mines, weather and management of cultural heritage.
“The commissioning of Gudai-Darri represents the successful delivery of our first greenfield mine in over a decade, helping to support increased output of Pilbara Blend, our flagship product. It sets a new standard for Rio Tinto mine developments through its deployment of technology and innovation to enhance productivity and improve safety,” said Rio’s iron-ore CEO Simon Trott.
“I’d like to acknowledge the support of the Traditional Owners, the Banjima People, on whose country Gudai-Darri is situated. We have worked closely with the Banjima People to progress this project and we look forward to continuing to actively partner with them into the future.”
Rio’s chief technical officer, Mark Davies said that the safe and successful delivery of Gudai-Darri, in the midst of a global pandemic, is testament to the resilience and hard work of thousands of Rio Tinto employees and contractors, including a range of local Western Australian suppliers, as well as Pilbara Aboriginal businesses.
“In building this new hub we have brought together the best of our innovations, including autonomous trucks, trains and drills, as well as the world’s first autonomous water trucks, to make Gudai-Darri our most technologically advanced iron-ore mine.
“This suite of autonomous assets complements the planned deployment of other leading-edge technologies including a robotic ore sampling laboratory, field mobility devices for all personnel and a digital asset of the fixed plant, which, together with data analytics, will make Gudai Darri safer and more productive.”
Since ground was broken in April 2019, more than 14-million workhours have resulted in the movement of over 20-million cubic metres of earth, batching and placement of 35 000 m3 of concrete, and the installation of 10 000 t of steel. The development of Gudai-Darri supported more than 3 000 jobs during the construction and design phase. The mine will support around 600 ongoing permanent roles.