Rio Tinto releases third quarter production results 16 October

Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said “We have delivered a good operational performance across most of our assets catching up on planned maintenance activity, particularly in iron ore, and continuing to adapt to new operating conditions as we learn to live with COVID-19. We have maintained our capex guidance and our 2020 production guidance across our key products.

“We are focused on regaining the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people (PKKP) with a focus on remedy. On Tuesday 13 October we wrote a letter to Traditional Owners in the Pilbara detailing that we will review all heritage disturbance in consultation with them; and shared our intention to modernise our agreements which includes modifying clauses to ensure respect, transparency and mutual benefit.

“Rio Tinto has shown great resilience through challenging conditions and will continue to prioritise the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities. The quality of our assets, coupled with our strong focus on capital discipline and value over volume approach, mean we can continue to invest in our business, support our communities, pay taxes and royalties to host governments and continue to generate superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”

Production*

Q3

2020

vs Q3

2019

vs Q2

2020

9 MTHS

2020

vs 9 MTHS

2019

Pilbara iron ore shipments (100% basis)

Mt

82.1

-5

%

-5

%

241.7

0

%

Pilbara iron ore production (100% basis)

Mt

86.4

-1

%

+4

%

247.4

+2

%

Bauxite

Mt

14.5

+5

%

-1

%

42.8

+7

%

Aluminium

kt

797

+1

%

+2

%

2,365

-1

%

Mined Copper

kt

129.6

-18

%

-2

%

395.4

-10

%

Titanium dioxide slag

kt

293

-9

%

+12

%

848

-8

%

IOC iron ore pellets and concentrate

Mt

2.3

-21

%

-15

%

7.7

-4

%

*Rio Tinto share unless otherwise stated

Q3 Operational update

  • Our All Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR) of 0.35 has improved through 2020 versus 2019 (0.42). We have successfully adapted our assets and offices to the new operating conditions associated with COVID-19 and we continue to closely manage this risk to protect our people and communities.
  • Pilbara operations are returning to more normal operating conditions with rosters back to pre-COVID-19 settings although controls to protect our employees, contractors and communities remain in place. Total material moved was a record for the quarter with Pilbara iron ore production of 86.4 million tonnes (100% basis), 1% lower than the third quarter of 2019. A recovery in planned maintenance activity in the port led to 5% lower shipments.
  • Bauxite production of 14.5 million tonnes, 5% higher than the third quarter of 2019, with increased year on year production across all sites, including record quarterly production at the non-managed CBG joint venture in Guinea.
  • Aluminium production of 0.8 million tonnes in the third quarter was 1% higher than the third quarter of 2019 with stable operations across our smelter portfolio.
  • Third quarter mined copper was 18% lower than the same period of 2019 due to lower grade at Kennecott as a result of pit sequencing to accommodate the extended smelter shutdown. Refined copper was 57% lower, primarily due to delays in restarting the Kennecott smelter.
  • On 19 August, we announced an update to our refined copper guidance following delays to the restart of the smelter at Kennecott due to unexpected issues following planned maintenance. The safe start-up of the smelter has commenced and consistent with the announcement, we expect that it will be fully operational during October. 2020 guidance for refined copper remains at 135 to 175 thousand tonnes.

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