Rio Tinto restarted its expansion program at its Iron Ore Co. of Canada (IOC) operations. An investment of $401 million will increase the facility’s annual concentrate capacity by 4 million metric tons to 22 million metric tons by 2012. The investment is the first stage of a three-stage program at IOC that could eventually increase annual capacity to 26 million metric tons. The decision to proceed with the expansion was made because of Rio Tinto’s confidence in growing demand for iron ore.

IOC is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in Canada. Its customer base covering North American, European and Asian steel producers. IOC operates a mine and pelletizing plant in Newfoundland and port facilities in Quebec.