Mining major Rio Tinto has secured approval for the expansion of its $680m West Angelas joint venture project from the Western Australian Government.

West Angelas is an iron ore mine located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, 110km north-west of Newman.

Said to be one of twelve iron ore mines the company operates in Pilbara, the mine is owned by Robe River Iron Associates (53% Rio Tinto) and operated by Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

Following the approval, Rio will commence work at the project, which are expected to extend the mine’s life by 13 years, reports abc.net.au.

The open pit operation, which commenced production in 2002, has site-based processing facilities and a capacity of 29.5 million tonnes a year.

Its mining fleet consists of 38 trucks and ten loading units. In addition, the state government has approved for the establishment of additional pits at the company’s Western Turner Syncline, which involves a package worth $200m.

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The expansion projects are jointly expected to increase Rio Tinto’s annual iron ore production by 11 million tonnes.

The government expects the construction period to create about 530 jobs.

Meanwhile, the cost of iron ore fell by almost 8.3% on Monday, representing an 18-month low, following a credit squeeze in China.

Image: Rio Tinto has secured approval for the expansion of its $680m West Angelas joint venture project. Photo: courtesy of Rio Tinto.

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