Rio Tinto plots ‘agile’ path for new WA copper, gold ambitions
Rio Tinto has flagged the potential for a significant new copper and gold district in Western Australia’s Pilbara, adding that it was targeting first production from the site in 2023 .
Stephen McIntosh, Rio’s head of growth and innovation, on Tuesday said the company was planning a “small-scale, start-up” operation that focused on the Winu project’s higher-grade core.
“We are basically contemplating a small starter pit, concentrating on the higher grades, shallower mineralisation, very much doing this in a more agile and more innovative approach,” he said. “We are very pleased to be able to do this and do it quickly.”
The nation’s second largest miner is eager to develop the Winu site after drilling discovered an estimate 503 million tonnes of ore averaging 0.4 per cent copper equivalent, including a higher-grade component of 188 million tonnes at 0.68 per cent copper equivalent. Rio Tinto’s studies found the mineralisation supported the development of a relatively shallow open-pit mine.