• State Govt approves 53km railway and 220 kV power line for Hope Downs 4 mine
  • Project estimated to be worth more than $400m, and create up to 600 new jobs

The State Government has cleared the way for a rail and power supply project in the Pilbara estimated to be worth more than $400million, and which will generate up to 600 jobs.

Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said that the Government had granted Rio Tinto a special railway licence for a 53km railway line and approved a 220 kV electricity transmission line to connect the new Hope Downs 4 mine to the existing Hope Downs 1 infrastructure.

The Hope Downs 4 mine is being developed by a joint venture between Rio Tinto and Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, which is operated by Rio Tinto.  The rail and power project will be funded, built and operated by Rio Tinto.

“These approvals are the final step for development of the 15 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) Hope Downs 4 iron ore mine, at an estimated total cost of more than $1.2billion,” Mr Barnett said. "The new mine will create about 1,500 new jobs and Rio Tinto expects first production to commence in the second quarter of 2013. I thank all of the Government agencies involved in this important project.”

“Following Hope Downs 4 receiving environmental approval on January 31, 2011, the company and Government agencies have worked together efficiently to develop detailed proposals, and finalise approvals, for the mine, rail and power supply components.

Approval for the new mine was granted under the Iron Ore (Hope Downs) Agreement 1992 in July 2011 and the rail and power supply components were approved under the Iron Ore (Hamersley Range) Agreement 1963 in December 2011.

The Premier said the State Government granted the approvals and special railway licence after consideration of impacts of the rail and power infrastructure on affected land holders and on the environment.

“During the final six months of 2011, the Government granted approval for iron ore expansion projects in the Pilbara, worth a combined total of almost $10billion,” he said.


Fact File

  • In 2010-11, WA exported more than 395 million tonnes of iron ore and industry employed more than 30,000 people
  • Rio Tinto is expanding its iron ore production capacity from 225 Mtpa to 353 Mtpa by 2015
  • State’s iron ore industry paid more than $3.35b royalties to State Govt in 2010-11
  • This was a 125 per cent increase on the previous year

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