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Opening of new iron ore mine

Date : 04/19/2004 @ 5:06AM
Source : UK Regulatory (RNS & others)
Stock : Rio Tinto (RIO)
Quote : 3475.0  52.5 (1.53%) @ 11:35AM
Rio Tinto share price Chart

Opening of new iron ore mine

RNS Number:7285X
Rio Tinto PLC
19 April 2004


New Eastern Range mine adds to Hamersley's capacity


The opening today of Hamersley Iron's 54 per cent owned Eastern Range mine, near
Paraburdoo in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, will consolidate
Hamersley's position as a leading supplier to China, presently the world's
fastest growing market for iron ore.



The Eastern Range mine, developed at an initial cost of US$64 million, is owned
in partnership with the Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation (46 per cent
interest), one of China's largest steelmakers.



Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Hamersley will supply Baosteel
with 200 million tonnes of iron ore at an annual rate of ten million tonnes over
20 years.



Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Renwick said the official opening is an
historic event for Hamersley and Baosteel, marking the culmination of years of
hard work, partnership and negotiation.



"Today's mine opening is significant as it reinforces Hamersley's already strong
working relationship with China, built up since Hamersley's first iron ore sales
to China more than 30 years ago," Mr Renwick said.



"This mine development allows mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties.
For Baosteel, Eastern Range secures a stable supply of high quality iron ore
that will help it to meet the needs of the rapid industrial development
presently underway in China.



"Hamersley in turn, is able to maximise the potential of a valuable asset and
achieve returns for its shareholders through guaranteed iron ore sales for the
next 20 years.



"The development of Eastern Range will also ensure that Paraburdoo remains a
vital regional centre for many years to come."



The Eastern Range mine was officially opened by the Australian Federal Minister
for Industry, Tourism and Resources, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP.  Other guests
included the Western Australian Minister for the Pilbara, the Hon Tom Stephens
MLC, Chinese dignitaries, and representatives from the Shanghai Baosteel Group
Corporation, and Rio Tinto.





For further information, please contact:
LONDON                                              AUSTRALIA

Media Relations                                     Media Relations
Lisa Cullimore                                      Ian Head
Office:  +44 (0) 20 7753 2305                       Office:  +61 (0) 3 9283 3620
Mobile: +44 (0) 7730 418 385                        Mobile: +61 (0) 408 360 101


Investor Relations                                  Investor Relations
Peter Cunningham                                    Dave Skinner
Office:  +44 (0) 20 7753 2401                       Office:  +61 (0) 3 9283 3628
Mobile: +44 (0) 7711 596 570                        Mobile: +61 (0) 408 335 309
Richard Brimelow                                    Susie Creswell
Office:  +44 (0) 20 7753 2326                       Office:  +61 (0) 3 9283 3639
Mobile: +44 (0) 7753 783 825                        Mobile: +61 (0) 418 933 792


Website: www.riotinto.com




                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
END

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