OREANDA-NEWS. Today marks 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of our iron ore departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.

Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment.

The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said “When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth.

“The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,” Mr Salisbury said.

“Over the past 50 years Rio Tinto has invested more than $37 billion to grow our Pilbara operations. We now employ 12,000 people who operate our network of mines, rail and ports, and sell our iron ore to customers all around the world,” Mr Salisbury said.