Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui") announced today that it has approved A$395 million through its 100% subsidiary Mitsui Iron Ore Development Pty., Ltd. (MIOD) for early commencement of infrastructure work and acquisition of long-lead items for a further expansion of iron ore export capacity at Cape Lambert (also known as Port Walcott) and the associated rail network, owned by Robe River J/V (Rio Tinto 53%, Mitsui 33%, Nippon Steel 10.5%, Sumitomo Metals 3.5%) in Western Australia. The port at Cape Lambert is currently under construction to increase its nameplate capacity from 55 to 80 million tonnes per annum by the end of 2008. The early planning and acquisitions are for maintaining the time-to market schedule of a plan currently undergoing a pre-feasibility study to further increase export capacity to 180 million tonnes per annum. The early work involves significant infrastructure for the port operations, including the development of a new service of wharf facility, relocation of existing gas and power lines to enable commencement of stockyard work and the securing of production slots for dumper casting and slew bearings. It also includes the early procurement of rail sleepers. Completion of the total expansion is scheduled for the end of 2012.
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