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Rio Tinto Seeks Approvals For New Western Australia Iron Ore Mine

PERTH -(Dow Jones)- Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) has unveiled its latest iron ore mine development plans to start the construction next year of its Turee Syncline project in Western Australia, according to referral documents posted Friday on the Australian government's environmental website. Rio Tinto is seeking government approvals to develop Turee Syncline, approximately 15 kilometers north-east of Paraburdoo, which is expected to produce up to 10 million metric tons a year of iron ore over 16 years, according to the documents. The proposed development will "ensure continued supply for Rio Tinto's ongoing iron ore expansions in the Pilbara," a company spokesman said. Provided all relevant approvals are obtained, production may begin in 2014, Rio said in its referral. The mine's initial stage will involve transport of ore by road for processing at Paraburdoo, with a view to potentially developing an on-site processing plant and rail loop if required, the company added. Rio Tinto has approved an expansion of its overall Pilbara production capacity to 283 million metric tons a year, due to come on stream in 2014. A final investment decision for a proposed second expansion to 353 million tons a year is due in the second half of this year. -By Stephen Bell, Dow Jones Newswires; +61-2-82724682; djnews.sydney@dowjones.com

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