Rio Tinto Progresses Rhodes Ridge to PFS

Rio Tinto has approved a $77 million pre-feasibility study (PFS) to progress development of the Rhodes Ridge iron ore project in the East Pilbara in Western Australia. The commencement of a PFS follows completion of an order of magnitude study that considered development of an operation with initial capacity of up to 40 million metric tons per year (mt/y). The PFS is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 and will be followed by a feasibility study. First ore from the initial development is expected by the end of this decade.

“The size and quality of the resource base at Rhodes Ridge has the potential to underpin our iron ore business in the Pilbara for decades to come,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott said. “Longer term, the resource could support a world-class mining hub with a potential capacity of more than 100 million mt/y of high-quality iron ore.”

Rio Tinto is planning to spend more than $264 million on exploration over five years from 2024 through 2028 as part of the ongoing study phases. Study work to date indicates a staged development with an initial hub likely located in the northern part of the project, adjacent to existing rail infrastructure.

Rhodes Ridge contains 6.8 billion mt of mineral resources at an average grade of 61.6% Fe, including 5.3 billion mt at 62.2% Fe and 600 million mt at 63.9% Fe. Last year, Rio Tinto (50%) and Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd (50%) agreed to modernize the joint venture covering the Rhodes Ridge project, located 40 km northwest of Newman.

As featured in Womp 2024 Vol 01 -