Rio Tinto has awarded contracts totalling A$1bn ($669m) to various companies for the Western Range iron ore project located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The companies that have secured the contracts include Civmec, Primero Group, Cimic Group’s CPB Contractors, MACA, and Pilbara aboriginal businesses.

Located in Paraburdoo site, the Western Range iron ore project is being co-developed by Rio Tinto and China Baowu Steel Group (Baowu) with an investment of $2bn.

Rio Tinto and Baowu entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement for the project in September 2022 with each holding stakes of 54% and 46%, respectively.

Civmec secured contract worth over A$330m ($221m) for the construction of a new run of mine (ROM) pad, primary crushing facility, overland conveying circuit as well as modifications to the coarse ore stockpile and downstream conveying system.

Primero was awarded A$54m ($36m) for the design, supply, construction, and commissioning of the non-process infrastructure facilities on site.

CPB Contractors and MACA won contracts worth nearly A$250m ($167.4m) and A$60m ($40m), respectively.

Under its contract, CPB Contractors will provide the main infrastructure bulk earthworks.

MACA will build a camp pad as well as access road apart from handing the crushing and screening work at the Western Range project.

Rio Tinto awarded Pilbara aboriginal businesses contracts totalling A$39m ($26m).

Western Australia Premier Roger Cook said: “It was significant projects like the Western Range which reinforced Western Australia as an attractive and secure destination for business and investment.

“I want to commend Rio Tinto and Baowu on this latest project milestone and acknowledge their efforts in investing in WA to ensure WA businesses and workers benefit most.”

The Western Range project includes the construction of a primary crusher and an 18km conveyor system connecting it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant. It is estimated to produce 25 million tonnes of iron ore each year.

Construction at the Western Range iron ore project started in Q1 2023 and is anticipated to support nearly 1,600 jobs.

Rio Tinto aims to commence production from the iron ore project in 2025.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said: “The spending of A$1 billion with Western Australian businesses at Western Range marks a considerable milestone for both the project and those local businesses we are partnering with.”