Rio Tinto, the global mining group said there was uptick in performance in the fourth quarter with a number of units registering growth.
The company said global iron ore shipments of 302.6 million tones (Rio Tinto share 239.9 million tonnes) were 17 per cent higher than 2013 and production of 295.4 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 233.6 million tonnes) was an 11 per cent increase year on year. Rio Tinto’s share of production in the period was 12 per cent higher than in 2013. Mined copper production for the year was four per cent higher than last year, driven by the sustained ramp-up at Oyu Tolgoi.
“This ramp-up, along with higher grades at both Oyu Tolgoi and Kennecott, resulted in a 69 per cent increase in mined gold production over 2013,” the group said. On the other hand, the global bauxite production was temporarily reduced by three per cent in 2014 as Gove transitions to bauxite exports following the curtailment of the refinery in May 2014. Aluminium production in 2014 was broadly in line with 2013, despite the closure of Shawinigan in November 2013 and the partial shutdown at Kitimat, which continues to prepare for full commissioning of the modernised smelter during the first half of 2015. Eight smelters, representing 54 per cent of 2014 production volumes, achieved annual production records.
Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said they have had a successful year of production, capped off with a robust fourth quarter. “Output is in line with our targets across all of our major products. In a challenging market Rio Tinto remains focused on operating and commercial excellence to leverage our low-cost position and maximize value for shareholders,” he said.
The group also revealed that significant productivity gains across the Australian coal business delivered annual site production records at Hail Creek in Queensland, Hunter Valley Operations and Bengalla.
Excluding production from the Clermont mine which was divested during the year, thermal coal production increased by 15 per cent (2.5 million tonnes) in 2014 compared to 2013.