Rio Tinto has announced high levels for iron ore production and shipments in 2011, according to CEO Tom Albanese.
In the company’s fourth quarter operations review for 2011, Albanese states that "this was another record breaking year in the Pilbara with both quarterly and full year iron ore production and shipments beating previous achievements, as our expansion programme continues".
For the year, while Rio recorded below production global iron ore shipments, moving only 239 million tonnes, its Pilbara ports operated at above annualised capacity and shipped 225 million tonnes.
Currently it is focused on its Pilbara expansion operations, which will see it produce 283 million tonnes annually by the end of 2013.
Rio’s iron ore operations in Canada have seen a drop of nine percent year on year.
Across all of Rio’s copper operations it saw a large drop year on year, except for its Australian Northparkes mines which actually recorded a 29% increase in mined copper due to higher grades from the E48 block cave and site optimisation.
Its coking coal operations also saw an increase production compared to the previous corresponding quarter; however both thermal and coking coal were down year on year.
Thermal coal production was 14% lower than the last quarter of 2010 due to maintenance at Clermont, a temporary shutdown for plant upgrades at Bengalla, and a four week failure of the dragline at Mount Thorley Warkworth.