Rio to press on with expansion

MINING group Rio Tinto signalled yesterday it was pushing ahead with its expansion plans in iron ore while it awaits competition authority clearance to form a partnership with rival BHP in Australia.

The firm said it had approved $1.6bn (£1.03bn) to expand its Hopes Downs iron ore mine project in Western Australia, with first production expected in 2013.

The 15m tonne project is a far cry from the 155m tonnes anticipated from the joint venture with BHP, but underscores Rio Tinto’s aim to expand with or without BHP.