Rio Tinto in $3.1bn expansion

City A.M. Reporter
Global miner Rio Tinto approved a $3.1bn (£1.9bn) iron ore expansion, staking a claim to become the world's top producer and defying industry concerns over a new Australian mining tax.

Iron ore miners are ramping up production to meet booming demand from Asia, with most of the growth in output set to come from Australia where two of the world's biggest producers, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, dominate.

Rio Tinto's move to boost output by 28 per cent follows this week's demise of a planned joint venture with BHP Billiton in northwest Australia's Pilbara region aimed at saving the companies $10bn in costs.

BHP Billiton unveiled a six per cent rise in quarterly iron ore output on Wednesday and is also planning to expand its Australian iron ore operations to meet booming Asian demand.

Rio Tinto's announcement, combined with BHP Billiton's production surge, eclipsed news reports on Wednesday that suggested they and other miners risked being double-taxed under Australia's proposed 30 per cent tax on iron ore and coal.