As part of a long-term plan to boost its annual iron ore capacity from 225 million to 330 million tonnes, Rio Tinto will spend US$790 million on port infrastructure at Cape Lambert in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

This stage of the proposed US$10 billion-plus Pilbara 330 expansion centres on increasing port capacity at Cape Lambert from an annual rate of 80 million tonnes to 180 million by 2016. It will be achieved through construction of a 1.8km-long jetty and four-berth wharf to run parallel to the existing jetty and four-berth wharf.

The new investment follows an announcement by Rio in July that it will spend US$200 million on dredging works for the Cape Lambert expansion. The investment comprises US$375 million for marine works related to the construction of the new wharf and US$415 million for the procurement of long lead items such as pile and marine structure, and on-shore earthworks and machines.

Rio Tinto’s chief executive iron ore and Australia Sam Walsh says the new investment highlights Rio Tinto’s intention to forge ahead with the expansion.

"Rio Tinto has a proven track record of managing large-scale iron ore development projects, and has successfully implemented three significant increases in port capacity in the past seven years - Dampier to 140 million tonnes and Cape Lambert to 80 million tonnes.”

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