Rio Tinto has released its 2023 third quarter production results across its global operations.
Iron ore production from the company’s Pilbara operations in Western Australia dropped one per cent from the corresponding 2022 quarter to 83.5 million tonnes but iron ore shipments increased one per cent to 83.9 million tonnes.
Rio expects Pilbara iron ore shipments for 2023 to be in the upper half of 320–335 million tonnes, with 323–338 million tonnes forecast for 2024.
Overall bauxite production reached 13.9 million tonnes, two per cent higher than the third quarter of 2022.
Rio credited the boost to a stabilising of its operations, particularly at the Weipa mine in Queensland where the company said equipment reliability and performance improved.
Aluminium production was nine per cent higher than the third quarter of 2022 at 0.8 million tonnes, as the company returned to full capacity at its Kitimat smelter in British Columbia.
Mined copper production reached 169,000 tonnes, which was five per cent higher than the third quarter of 2022.
Rio said the company benefited from the continued ramp-up of the high grade underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia and higher copper feed grades at Escondida in Chile.
“We continued to make good headway ramping up our Oyu Tolgoi high-grade underground copper mine, our Kitimat aluminium smelter returned to full production, and we safely restarted the smelter and refinery at Kennecott after completing the largest rebuild in its history,” Stausholm said.
“We have more to do as we work towards sustainable performance improvements across our business.
“We are making strong progress towards building the Rio Tinto of the future, striking a balance between disciplined performance in evolving market conditions, investing to generate valuable long-term growth and delivering attractive shareholder returns.”