July 28 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto Ltd RIO.AX said on Monday it discovered gold-rich deposits at its Winu project in Western Australia and indicated the potential for a major new copper and gold mine in the region.
The Anglo-Australian miner said the new find in the Paterson Province, along with other positive drilling results nearby, points at potential for developing of multiple ore bodies within one system.
"The additional exploration results reported today support our view that there is potential to develop the Paterson region into a large-scale operation over time through both our 100% owned tenements and joint ventures," said Stephen McIntosh, Rio Tinto group executive of growth and innovation.
Rio added it is targeting first production from Winu in 2023, subject to obtaining all necessary approvals.
The company said the Winu project team continues to work with local Nyangumarta and Martu traditional owners and regulators to obtain approvals needed for any future development, having drawn the ire of indigenous groups and the Australian government for blasting two ancient sacred Aboriginal caves in May.
(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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