Rio Tinto said it will invest US$395 million in a desalination plant in Western Australia to support future water supply for the company’s coastal operations and communities in the Pilbara region.

RioTinto hardhatThe proposed Dampier Seawater Desalination Plant, which remains subject to relevant approvals, will be located within the miner’s existing iron ore port operations at Parker Point. Construction is slated to commence next year with the facility becoming operational in 2026.

“We know that water is a scarce resource, particularly in the Pilbara. We are pleased that this desalination plant will help to secure future supply for Rio Tinto supplied communities in the West Pilbara as well as our coastal operations,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott.

The plant will have an initial nominal capacity of 4 gigalitres annually with the potential to increase to 8 GL/year in the future. Water from the plant will be transferred to the Water Corporation-owned and operated West Pilbara Water Supply Scheme, where it will be distributed to Rio Tinto’s coastal communities and operations.

Rio Tinto said the Dampier Seawater Desalination Plant will utilise existing infrastructure at its Parker Point operations and is located near the existing Water Corporation network, helping to minimise disturbance to the local environment.

Source: Rio Tinto