Diversified group–Rio Tinto has released its first quarter production performance, which showed the group continued to drive efficiency in all aspects of its business—that is reflected in our solid production performance during the first quarter.
According to the company, the global iron ore shipments of 72.5 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 57.3 million tonnes) were nine per cent higher compared to the first quarter of 2014. “Production of 74.7 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 59.4 million tonnes) was a 12 per cent increase year on year,” revealed the company.
During the period, Rio recorded first quarter bauxite production that was four per cent higher than the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to a strong performance at Weipa while aluminium production in the first quarter was in line with the same period of 2014, despite the partial shutdown at Kitimat, which continues to prepare for first hot metal at the modernised smelter by mid-2015.
The company stated that its mined copper production was 12 per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by higher throughput at Kennecott and Escondida.
“Lower grades at Kennecott were the primary driver of the nine per cent decline compared with the first quarter of 2014.”
During the quarter, the Government of Mongolia and Rio Tinto formally celebrated the major milestone of Oyu Tolgoi shipping one million tonnes of concentrate.
“Higher first quarter coal production was primarily driven by improved production rates at Kestrel South following the longwall ramp-up, increased semi-soft production at Mount Thorley and Warkworth and higher thermal production at Hail Creek”.
Titanium dioxide production was 17 per cent lower than in the first quarter of 2014 as production continued to be optimised to align with market demand.
Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said: “By making best use of our high quality assets, low cost base and operating and commercial capability our aim is to protect our margins in the face of declining prices and maximise returns for shareholders throughout the cycle.”