Rio Tinto’s Amrun Project has spent over A$1.5 billion with local companies

28 August 2018

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques today visited Rio Tinto’s world-class Amrun bauxite project on Cape York Peninsula. The soon-to-be competed project has been built using local companies with over A$1.5 billion worth of contracts awarded to Queensland suppliers.    

Out of a total cost of A$2.6 billion, Rio Tinto has spent A$2.1 billion with Australian companies, of which two thirds has been with local Queensland business. This includes A$244 million invested with local Cape York companies.

Pictured: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques tour the Chith export facility at the Amrun Project

Premier Palaszczuk said "It is a tremendous achievement that more than 770 Queensland businesses have been engaged directly and indirectly to supply goods and services at the Amrun Project.  

"Rio Tinto has set a benchmark in supporting our local and regional suppliers. This significant investment will build a strong foundation to ensure the sustainability of Western Cape communities for decades to come."

Pictured: Wik-Waya Traditional Elder Uncle Tony Kerindun with Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques at the Chivarri Traditional Owner's area

More than 1,200 people are now working on site including 900 Queenslanders representing 75 per cent of the workforce - 178 are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander including 67 Local Aboriginal People.

The ship loader, the final major piece of infrastructure for the project, is now onsite being assembled following a seven day voyage from Western Australia to Queensland.

Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said "Since the Amrun Project’s approval in 2015 we have placed a strong emphasis on providing opportunities for Queensland businesses to contribute to the the project through our Local and Indigenous Participation Plan,=.

"This approach has provided a significant boost to the Queensland economy and to the people in the communities where we operate. We are proud of our contribution so far and look forward to completion of the project as it will represent a new chapter in Rio Tinto’s 60-year history on the Western Cape."

First production and shipping is now expected before the end of 2018 ramping up to an estimated full production rate of 22.8 Mtpa by the end of 2019.

Background Information

About the Amrun Project

Rio Tinto announced its A$2.6 billion investment in the Amrun Project in late 2015. The project is about 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines on the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland and involves the construction of a bauxite mine, processing and port facilities.

Rio Tinto has a long history of partnering with Traditional Owners on Cape York. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up one in four employees at its existing Western Cape operations. The Amrun Project will continue creating opportunities for Indigenous people from Cape York and the surrounding region..

Construction update

The Amrun bauxite mine is moving closer to first production with construction of the world-class infrastructure 90 per cent complete and turnover to operations underway.

Key infrastructure including the Amrun power station, accommodation village, Chith export facility and Arraw dam has been completed, while the construction of the process facilities, rail mounted machines, Amrun mine centre, and Torro tailings storage facility continue to make solid progress.

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations employees have started moving across to the project to support pre-mining activities as it transitions from a construction site to a fully functioning mine.

An advanced commissioning team responsible for plant and ship loader operations commenced work at the site in January while a development team overseeing clearing and stripping topsoil commenced in April. The operational team now boasts a 120 person workforce which is set to grow to 290 people by year end.

Ship loader arrival

The final piece of infrastructure for the project, the ship loader, is now onsite following a seven day voyage from Western Australia to Queensland.

The ship loader was fabricated into three main modules by Civmec at its Western Australian facility after it was awarded a contract by Sandvik to support the project.

Fabrication and assembly construction took place over a eight month period followed by four weeks of commissioning. At its peak the contract created employment for 100 people.

The remoteness of the Amrun site meant the safest and most efficient way to approach this type of construction was to fabricate the infrastructure into large-scale modules.

The off-site strategy enabled design and fabrication issues to be realised earlier reducing construction man hours and associated safety, quality and costs risks.

The achievement is another example of the project’s commitment to showcasing best practice Australian manufacturing expertise, delivering local jobs and providing a boost to the Australian economy.