Rio Tinto has reported Pilbara iron ore shipments of 86.1 Mt (100% basis) in the third quarter of 2019, 5% higher than the third quarter of 2018.
Commenting on Rio Tinto’s third-quarter production result, CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said “We have delivered improved production across the majority of our products in the third quarter, with a solid result at our Pilbara mines driving increased sales of iron ore into robust markets.
“Our strong value over volume approach, coupled with our focus on operational performance and disciplined allocation of capital, will continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders over the short, medium and long term.”
The Mining giant’s Pilbara iron ore production of 87.3 Mt (100% basis) was 6% higher than the third quarter of 2018 and 10% higher than the previous quarter, reflecting a good recovery from the operational and weather challenges experienced earlier in the year.
The company’s third-quarter bauxite production and shipments to third parties were 9% and 23% higher, respectively, than the same period of 2018. Bauxite production from non-managed joint ventures was lower than planned for the year to date.
Rio’s Aluminium production of 0.8 Mt was 3% lower than the third quarter of 2018, which it said primarily reflected a preventive safety shutdown at one of the three pot-lines at ISAL in Iceland and earlier than planned pot relining at Kitimat in British Columbia, Canada.
Mined copper production of 158,000t was 1% lower than the third quarter of 2018, but 15% higher than the second quarter, reflecting higher grades at Kennecott and improved throughput at Escondida.
At the Oyu Tolgoi underground project, the primary production shaft (shaft 2) remains on track for commissioning this month, the company stated. “Since July 2019, we have completed key infrastructure, including the central heating plant, the shaft 2 jaw crusher system and the surface discharge conveyor. Work continues on the mine re-design,” the firm explained.
Titanium dioxide slag production of 321,000t was 8% higher than the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a continued improvement in operational performance and the restart of furnaces in 2019.
Third quarter production at Iron Ore Company of Canada was 3% higher than the corresponding quarter of 2018 and 17% higher than the previous quarter, which Rio Tinto said reflected a return to normal operating conditions following the flooding incident which impacted June.
The company added that its guidance remains unchanged, with the exception of bauxite production, which has been revised to around 54 Mt (previously 56 to 59 Mt), and alumina production, which has been revised to around 7.7 Mt (previously 8.1 to 8.4 Mt).
On 25 September 2019, Rio Tinto announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with China Baowu Steel Group and Tsinghua University to develop and implement new methods to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental performance across the steel value chain.
Third quarter exploration and evaluation spend was US$177M, 62% higher than the same period of 2018, primarily reflecting increased activity on advanced projects, the company concluded.