Rio Tinto delivers iron ore growth

Image: Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto has released solid results for its 2018 first quarter, buoyed by year-on-year Pilbara iron ore production growth of 8 per cent to 83.1Mt, though quarterly growth was down 5 per cent when compared with the previous quarter.

This was the general theme for Rio’s results overall; hard coking coal took the biggest hit for the quarter, down 53 per cent on the previous quarter to 1.102Mt and 30 per cent for the full year. This notable dip was attributed to “longwall changeover and maintenance works” at the Kestrel mine in Queensland.

Mined copper has seen the biggest year-on-year gains, with amounts up 65 per cent on this time last year to 139,300t and down 6 per cent on the previous quarter.

Aluminium took a minor hit of 5 per cent on production (down to 846,000t) compared with Q1 2017, which according to the company’s statement is primarily the result of lockout disruptions at the company’s part-owned Bécancour smelter in Quebec, Canada.

Bauxite was up 12 per cent to 83.1Mt year-on-year and down 8 per cent on the previous quarter.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive of Rio Tinto called it a “solid operational performance across most commodities”.

“Our world-class Pilbara iron ore assets continue to demonstrate flexibility and the benefits of increased productivity, and production at our bauxite and copper assets was also higher.”

Rio also announced that it had divested $5 billion for the quarter as part of its drive to tighten up its assets.

“By continuing to advance our mine-to-market productivity program, whilst maintaining our focus on the disciplined allocation of cash, we will continue to deliver superior returns to our shareholders,” explained Jacques.

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