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Rio Approves $3.1 Billion Ore Plan as Venture Fails

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, approved a $3.1 billion expansion of its Australian iron ore operations, two days after scrapping a joint venture with BHP Billiton Ltd. to combine their ore mines.

The expansion will raise iron ore capacity in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to 283 million metric tons in 2013, the London-based company said today in a statement. Melbourne- based BHP, which is also expanding output, today reported a 6 percent gain in first-quarter iron ore production.