- Mining group Rio Tinto said it had booked a maiden resource estimate at its Winu copper-gold deposit in Western Australia state that could support the development of an open-pit mine.

The company also said it had discovered a new zone of gold-dominant mineralisation about 2 kilometres east of the Winu deposit in the state's Paterson province.

The inferred mineral resource, reported at a 0.2% copper equivalent cutoff, was 503m tonnes at 0.45% copper equivalent.

'Study work to date suggests the copper mineralisation supports the development of a relatively shallow open-pit mine, combined with industry-standard processing technology that is used at other Rio Tinto sites,' the company said.

It added that the Winu project team continued to work with local Nyangumarta and Martu traditional owners and regulators to progress development approvals.

'We are targeting first production from Winu in 2023, subject to securing all necessary approvals,' Rio Tinto said.

On the discovery of the new zone, the company said it provided further encouragement about the potential for the development of multiple ore bodies within one system.

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