The Western Australian (WA) Government has granted Rio Tinto approval to develop iron ore deposits at its Western Turner Syncline mine near Tom Price in Pilbara.
The development proposal for Western Turner Syncline was approved under the Iron Ore (Hamersley Range) Agreement Act 1963. The news follows the government’s approval last month of Rio Tinto's Silvergrass iron ore mine expansion.
Western Australia development minister Bill Marmion said that capital expenditure on the project was expected to be A$18m ($13.7m).
Marmion said: "The Western Turner Syncline production capacity is currently 25 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes per year.
"The approval will ensure Rio Tinto can maintain this level of production by bringing new sources of ore online.”
Following receipt of this approval, Rio Tinto will start developing deposits to the north and west of the existing mining operation.
Works also include construction of haul roads, site access roads, and storage areas, as well as water treatment facilities.
Rio Tinto operates 15 mines in WA and around 1,700km of dedicated railway. In August, the company reached 50 years of iron ore exports from Pilbara.
Last year, WA's iron ore exports were valued at A$49.8bn ($38.12bn).