Rio posts solid quarter

Rio posts solid quarter
Mining News Pro - Diversified giant Rio Tinto has reported a solid quarter of production for the three months to March, with the miner maintaining its production guidance across its portfolio.

Iron-ore production for the first quarter reached 76.4-million tonnes, down 2% on the previous corresponding period and down 11% on the fourth quarter of last year, driven by above average wet weather through February, and fixed plant reliability.

Rio told shareholders that Tropical Cyclone Seroja also impacted the Pilbara mine and port operations in April.

Iron-ore shipments from the Pilbara reached 77.8-million tonnes in the quarter under review, up 7% on the previous corresponding period, but down 12% on the December quarter.

Iron-ore shipment targets for the full 2021 have remained unchanged at between 325-million and 340-million tonnes.

Mined copper production was down 9% compared with both the fourth quarter and the previous corresponding quarter, reaching 120 500 t, as Rio reported lower recoveries from both its Escondida and Kennecott operations, in Chile and the US. This fall in production was partly offset by the anticipated higher grade from the Oyu Tolgoi openpit, in Mongolia.

For the full year, Rio is expecting to produce between 210 000 t and 250 000 t of refined copper, and between 500 000 t to 550 000 t of mined copper.

Aluminium production for the first quarter reached 803 000 t, up 3% on the previous corresponding period, but down 1% on the fourth quarter, as the Becancour smelter, in Quebec, operated at full capacity and the Kitimat operation, in British Columbia, neared the end of its pot relining cycle.

Aluminium production in the full year is targeted at between 3.1-million and 3.3-million tonnes.

Bauxite production for the quarter was down 2% on the previous corresponding period, but up 2% on the fourth quarter to 13.6-million tonnes, with production impacted by wet weather conditions in eastern Australia and port closures at the Amrun mine due to large swells and cyclones.

Rio is targeting full year bauxite production of between 56-million to 59-million tonnes.

“We achieved an overall solid operating performance in the first quarter. We have maintained guidance ranges in all our products, with site teams successfully managing the effects of significant rainfall, in particular at our Australian iron-ore assets,” said CEO Jakob Stausholm on Tuesday.

“It has been a period of deep reflection for the company, and I have personally spent a significant amount of time listening, learning and taking actions, in particular to better manage Traditional Owner partnerships and cultural heritage. I have appointed a new leadership team and the transition is progressing well.

“We have set out clear priorities to develop a stronger Rio Tinto. Our focus is to become the best operator, strive for impeccable environmental and social governance credentials, excel in development and secure a strong social licence. This ambition will enable us to continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society,” he added.

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