Rio working on massive coal expansion

Macquarie Research says that Rio Tinto is looking to almost double its coal production in Queensland in the next eight years, taking advantage of planned improvements in rail and port infrastructure, according to Hubie van Dalsen, Managing Director of Rio’s coal unit. “Our aim is to lift our Queensland production from 21 Mt of thermal and coking coal last year to 40 Mt/y by 2015” he said on Friday. Construction work started on Friday at the $950 million Clermont mine in central Queensland, which is expected to produce ~12 Mt/y of thermal coal from 2012, replacing Rio’s nearby Blair Athol mine.