Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) recently signed a renewed agreement with Rio Tinto for Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) services for the delivery of iron ore projects in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The renewed agreement extends SKM’s term through to mid-2015, by which time SKM will have been providing EPCM services to Rio Tinto on a continuous basis for more than 15 years.

SKM General Manager of Mining and Metals Phil Lory said the company is immensely proud of its long and successful relationship with Rio Tinto delivering many world-class projects, including some of the most significant port expansion and development projects ever completed.

“During this time, SKM has supported Rio Tinto’s growth by increasing its Pilbara iron ore shipping capacity from 100 million metric tons per year (mt/y) in 2000, to the current capacity of 230 million mt/y. Currently, SKM is supporting Rio Tinto to increase shipping capacity to 353 million mt/y by 2015.

Under the renewed agreement, SKM has been awarded a contract for EPCM services for the second phase of Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert Port B project—one of the largest resource projects ever undertaken in Australia, involving the development of a new iron ore port facility adjacent to the existing Cape Lambert Port A facility. This award follows the award to SKM in early 2011 to provide EPCM services for the first phase of the project.

The Cape Lambert Port B project will provide additional iron ore shipping capacity of 123 million mt/y, increasing Rio Tinto’s total port capacity from 230 million to 353 million mt/y. Cape Lambert Port B is being delivered in two overlapping phases of 53 million and 70 million mt/y, with the first major milestone for the project (283 million mt/y) expected to be achieved by the end of 2013, and the 353 million mt/y milestone to be achieved in 2015.