Rio Tinto Iron Ore is spending US$39 million replacing its original stackers at the company’s Paraburdoo mine, creating 100 jobs in the process.

The stacker replacement programme at the mine is being led by Tenova TAKRAF, a global advanced technology provider who will be handling the design and implementation phases of the project. This will involve sourcing all material and equipment from ‘well-known, reputable suppliers with a preference for local content’.

According to Rio Tinto, Tenova’s engineering technology centre in Perth will manage all the lead engineering work to replace the stackers, which are used to evenly distribute ore into stockpiles.

Design of the new stackers is underway and fabrication will begin later this year with commissioning completed by 2020.

“This is great news not only for Paraburdoo, but also for jobs here in WA. This project is an important part of our sustaining capital work programme for 2018 and we’re pleased to be supporting local businesses with this significant body or work,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s chief executive, Chris Salisbury.

As for the old stackers, they were part of the mine’s original infrastructure back in 1972. Over the past 46 years of operation, the stackers have stacked over 800Mt of iron ore and have only required minimal structural changes throughout that time, according to Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

The project forms part of the mining company’s broader sustaining capital programme estimated at $1 billion per year over the next three years.