We produce iron ore for steel, aluminium for cars and smart phones, copper for wind turbines, diamonds that set the standard for responsible, titanium for household products and borates for crops that feed the world
We are exploring known kimberlites volcanic rock that can sometimes contain diamonds. Bulk sampling began in early June 2019 and we are using a large scale trench cutter previous drilling methods caused breakage of larger stones and likely undersampled diamonds to sample large volumes of kimberlite to depths of up to 250 metres. Inspection, valuation and interpretation of the recovered diamonds is ongoing.
The deposit is located on the doorstep of the European Union, one of the fastest growing electric vehicle markets in the world. Jadarite was discovered in 2004 by Rio Tinto geologists near the city of Loznica, Serbia.
In 2020, we approved an additional investment of almost $200 million to continue to progress the lithium-borate Jadar project. The investment will fund the feasibility study and associated engineering, as well as permitting and land acquisition by the end of 2021, in line with the initial project schedule.
In 2018 we approved funding for our $2.6 billion Gudai-Darri (Koodaideri) iron ore project set to be our most intelligent mine. Gudai-Darri will sustain existing production in our Pilbarairon ore system. The project will incorporate a processing plant, associated infrastructure and a 166-kilometre rail line.Construction is progressing, with production ramp-up expected in early 2022.
In addition to technology already in use across Rio Tinto, such as autonomous trucks, trains and drills, the design of the Gudai-Darri mine uses an increased level of automation and digitisation, including advanced data analytics.
Significant innovations include a digital replica of the processing plant, accessible in real time by workers in the field, fully integrated mine automation and simulation systems, and an automated workshop.
In early 2020, we secured funding approval for the development of a 34 megawatt, 105 hectare solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at our Gudai-Darri mine an important step in reducing our carbon footprint in the Pilbara. The Solar PV plant will deliver approximately 65 per cent of Gudai-Darri's average electricity demand once operational. During peak operations, the plant will provide 100 per cent of Gudai-Darri's electricity needs.
The Oyu Tolgoicopper mine in Mongolia is a world-class open pit mine and underground project. More than 80% of Oyu Tolgois total value lies deep underground. We are building an underground mine complex, using block-caving mining techniques to extract the ore and transport it to the surface.
In December 2020, we confirmed the definitive estimate of cost and schedule for Panel 0 with sustainable production expected to commence in October 2022 and development capital of $6.75 billion1. These estimates include the known impacts of COVID-192. At peak production, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 480,000 tonnes3 of copper per year on average, from 2028 to 2036, from the open pit and underground. By 2030 it is expected to be the fourth largest copper mine in the world.
Work on the underground Material Handling System 1 advanced in line with the definitive estimate1 however, progress on shafts 3 and 4, and other planned works, have been significantly affected by COVID-19.
2 The definitive estimate assumes restrictions in 2021 that are no more stringent than those experienced in September 2020. Mongolia implemented further restrictions at the end of 2020 in response to a re-emergence of COVID-19. Should COVID-19 constraints be maintained at December 2020 levels, escalate further in 2021 leading to tougher restrictions, or continue beyond 2021, additional costs and schedule impacts will arise.
3 This production target (stated as recovered metal) for the Oyu Tolgoi underground and open pit mines was previously reported in a release to the market on 16 December 2020 (Market release). All material assumptions underpinning the production target continue to apply and have not materially changed.
Resolution has the potential to supply up to 25% of US copper demand, and create several thousand direct and indirect jobs, with an economic value of approximately $1 billion annually over the estimated mine life.
Resolution Copper will rely on a technique called caving to extract the deposit that lies more than 2,000 metres deep. This technique uses gravity to help extract the ore and is the most viable way to recover the resource.
On 1 March 2021 the US Forest Service was directed to withdraw the Notice of Availability and rescind the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and draft Record of Decision that were previously published on 15 January 2021. We are working with the US Forest Service to determine next steps.
We recognise the historical connection that each of the 11consulting Native American Tribes has with the land. We acknowledge the significance of these connections, which have endured over centuries. We strive to build constructive relationships with each Tribe based on mutual respect, meaningful engagement, trust, mutual understanding and mutual benefit. We are committed to ongoing stakeholder engagement in our effort to seek consent to progress the project consistent with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.
Simandou contains one of the worlds largest and richest high-grade iron ore deposits, demand for which is increasing as steelmakers look to reduce carbon emissions. Simandou broadens our global portfolio of iron ore products and complements the long-term attractiveness of our Pilbara Blend.
Activity at the mine is ramping up, with a focus on identifying opportunities to optimise costs and the construction schedule, and implementation of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) continues. Preliminary results from the first phase of the technical optimisation of the infrastructure components are now being received from Chinese design institutes.
The Simandou project operates under the Simfer joint venture where the Government of Guinea holds 15% and Simfer Jersey holds 85%. Simfer Jersey is owned by Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH) (47%) and Rio Tinto (53%). CIOH is owned by: Chinalco (75%), Baosteel Resources (20%), China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) (2.5%) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) (2.5%). This structure has been in place since 2017.
Rio Tinto and CIOH, which own 45.05% and 39.95% of Simandou, respectively, continue to work with the government of Guinea to explore options to realise value from the world-class Simandou iron ore deposit, as well as potential mechanisms for collaboration on infrastructure development.
In July 2020 we announced the maiden Resource at Winu, as well as the discovery of a new zone of gold dominant mineralisation nearby. Drilling results at Ngapakarra, about two kilometres east of Winu, provide further encouragement about the potential to develop multiple orebodies in the district. We have explored only a small percentage of our tenements in the Paterson region of Western Australia so far, which includes both our 100% owned tenements and joint ventures.
We are actively engaging with Traditional Owners through on-Country heritage surveys, monitoring and agreement making, which is expected to continue into 2021, with first ore expected in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals, Traditional Owner and other consents and COVID-19 restrictions.
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The worlds top copper producer Chile is giving bulls another reason to cheer while prices soared to an all-time high on Friday as optimism about a global rebound from the pandemic spurs a surge across commodities markets.
Chiles lower house on Thursday approved ameasurethat would introduce progressive taxes on copper sales, potentially creating a total burden of more than 80% or almost double that of other major copper-producing nations.
The measure, which would go into effect in 2024, still needs to be approved by the senate and could be blocked by the government in court. But if it succeeds, it could stall investments in a country where mature low-grade deposits need plenty of expenditure just to maintain output levels of about 5.7 million tonnes a year.
Given high payments to the state, some assets would be un-investable and thus it limits the pool of mines that can make adequate returns, limiting supply, said BTG Pactual analyst Cesar Perez-Novoa.
Steel prices across Asia and North America are also booming, iron ore is at a record above $200 per tonne as miners struggle to keep up with the frenzied pace of consumption, and tin topped $30 000 for the first time in a decade.Get in Touch with Mechanic