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Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) to drive the ranger rehabilitation project for ERA

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Rio Tinto, Australia and Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) signed a management service agreement (MSA) on April 3rd, 2024, to manage the ERA’s ranger rehabilitation project of Uranium mine closed in 2021. After 40 years of operations, the ranger was closed and was Australia’s most extended continually operating uranium oxide producer. Discussions and negotiations between both companies’ Independent Board Committees (IBC) set the foundation for MSA. After reviewing Rio Tinto’s proposal, ERA has found a potential cost-saving opportunity to add value to Rio Tinto’s proposal. ERA has announced that Rio Tinto will oversee the execution of the project by providing services and advice.

Figure 1: Aerial view of ERA-owned ranger mine.

The ERA’s ranger rehabilitation project area is located in northern Australia, eight kilometres east of Jabiru and 260 kilometres east of Darwin. It is surrounded by Kakadu National Park, and the Mirarr people traditionally own the land. 

Kellie Parker, CEO of Rio Tinto, Australia, said, “With the signing of this agreement, we are pleased to be able to directly contribute more closure and project delivery experience and know-how to this critical task. We look forward to working with the Mirarr Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to complete the project.”

The implementation of MSA is expected in the second quarter of 2024, with a predicted transition period of 2-3 months. ERA will soon announce an updated timeline for the ranger rehabilitation project. 

Brad Welsh, ERA’s Managing Director and CEO, said, “The ERA team has worked incredibly hard and made good progress rehabilitating Ranger. However, as the project moves into a new phase, it will benefit from Rio Tinto’s global expertise in mine closure. We look forward to working with and supporting Rio Tinto on this important project’s safe and efficient delivery.”

Rick Dennis, Chairman and Chairman of ERA’s Independent Board Committee, said, “We are pleased to have appointed Rio Tinto to manage the Ranger Rehabilitation Project. The RangerRehabilitation Project is a complex and globally significant rehabilitation. After extensive consideration, the IBC has concluded that ERA would have significant value in directly leveraging Rio Tinto’s mine rehabilitation, project management experience and capabilities.”

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) is a leading manufacturer working to refine minerals and metals. ERA is a Rio Tinto group member and owns 86.3% of ERA’s shares. Rio Tinto has over 150 years of mining and processing experience and relies on modern tech, such as AI and automation, to carry out safer operations with higher efficacy and sustainability. Rio Tinto provides a variety of product ranges, including Iron ore, aluminum, copper, borates, lithium, scandium, diamonds, salts, ferrous metallics and titanium dioxide. Rio Tinto is exploring eight commodities in 18 countries. Rio Tinto, led by the chief executive, Jakob Stausholm, aims to acquire various projects with a broad range of applications and is focused on energy transition with organically-driven growth. It has an innovative, assertive, and challenge-the-norms approach.

On 3rd April 2024, the day of the MSA announcement, Rio Tinto’s (ASX: RIO) share price hiked and closed at 123.06 AUD. As of today, the share price ranges from 121.85 AUD to 123.14 AUD. The 52-week range for the Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) share is 102.51 AUD to 136.73 AUD. With the Ranger rehabilitation project, Rinto Tinto presents a great investment opportunity for investors.

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