By David Winning 
 

SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC declared a maiden resource at its Winu copper discovery in Western Australia, and said early study work points to a possible shallow open-pit mine development.

Rio Tinto said it had also made another discovery little more than a mile east of the Winu deposit. That prospect, called Ngapakarra, also contains gold and is encouraging company officials that there are multiple ore bodies across the broader area.

Rio Tinto reported an inferred mineral resource for Winu of 503 million metric tons of ore grading at 0.45% copper equivalent. The resource includes a higher-grade component of 188 million tons of ore with a 0.68% copper grade.

Rio Tinto is targeting first production from Winu in 2023.

"We're taking a more agile and innovative approach at Winu, and are working on the studies for a small scale, start-up operation focused on Winu's higher-grade core as we take another step towards commercializing this deposit," said Stephen McIntosh, group executive of Growth & Innovation and Health, Safety & Environment.

"We are also assessing options for future expansion in the Paterson region given the extent of mineralization identified to date and our large land package," he added.

 

Write to David Winning at david.winning@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2020 19:09 ET (23:09 GMT)

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