Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) Disappointing Copper Numbers
Global miner Rio Tinto on Tuesday said it had lifted its third quarter iron ore shipments by 6 percent after modernizing its haulage railway in Australia’s outback, but cut its production target for copper due to delays at a major mine in Chile.
Iron ore shipments totaled 85.8 million tonnes in the third quarter versus 80.9 million in the same period a year ago, Rio Tinto said. UBS had forecast third-quarter shipments of 84.6 million tonnes.
“The business performed very well in the September quarter, with a strong quarterly production performance and a wave of productivity improvements embedded through our operations,” Rio’s chief executive Jean Sebastien Jacques said.
“In particular, we are making good progress with further improvements to our world-class Pilbara iron ore business, including the opening of the Silvergrass mine [in August] and the implementation of AutoHaul [Rio Tinto’s automated train system].”
Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) produced 120,600 tonnes of copper in the September quarter, which is lower than expected and just as copper prices hit three-year highs.
There were two reasons offered by the company for the lower copper result.
The first was a seven-week strike at its Escondida copper mine in Chile — co-owned with BHP — which delayed its expansion plans.
The other was a fall in grades at its Kennecott mine in Utah (from 0.47pc to 0.29pc copper).
Rio’s initial guidance was 500,000-550,000 tonnes of copper for the full year. But that was downgraded to 460,000-480,000 tonnes on Tuesday morning.
The miner also said thermal and coking coal production was lower, compared to the previous quarter, because it sold its Coal & Allied operations in the Hunter Valley, NSW, to China-backed Yancoal.
Thermal coal production fell by 23 per cent, while semi-soft coking coal was down 28 per cent (compared to the previous quarter).
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