Rio Tinto to invest $395 million in Pilbara desalination plant

FILE PHOTO: Rio Tinto logo is seen displayed in this illustration taken April 10, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – Rio Tinto on Friday announced plans to invest $395 million in a seawater desalination plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, to supply water for the company’s coastal operations in the area.

The plant will have an initial nominal capacity of four gigalitres annually, with the potential to increase it to eight gigalitres in the future.

Construction is expected to start in 2024 and the facility will be operational and producing water in 2026.

The world’s biggest iron ore miner has been pouring money into the mineral-rich Pilbara region since last year. In November, it announced plans to invest a further $600 million in renewable energy assets in an effort to halve its carbon emissions by 2030.

The desalination plant is expected to create 300 jobs.

Reporting by Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath