Dryblower and Rio Tinto's $17 gauntlet

IF EVER you’ve wondered why some mineral deposits are regarded as “tier one”, and what that actually means, then Dryblower suggests you take a look at Rio Tinto’s latest profit statement and consider the challenge it represents to rivals, big and small.

The key number from Rio Tinto last week was 17. To be more precise it was $US17, the fourth-quarter cost of producing a tonne of high-grade iron ore at the company’s Pilbara mining complex.