Rio Tinto says its resilient, confirms reduced iron and copper volumes in Q3


Rio Tinto says its resilient, confirms reduced iron and copper volumes in Q3

Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) boasted it had “great resilience through challenging conditions” as it updated on its third-quarter production performance, which saw lower iron and copper.

Third-quarter iron ore shipments from the Pilbara region of Australia reduced 5% to 82.1mln tonnes, leaving the nine-month tally flat versus 2019 at 241.7mln tonnes.

At the same time, iron ore production was clipped 1% in Q3, resulting in output being up 2% over nine months.

Rio told investors that its Pilbara operations are now returning to more normal operating conditions and staff rosters are back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

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Iron pellet and concentrate volumes were down 21% in the quarter at 2.3mln tonnes and at a tally of 7.7mln tonnes were down 4% for the three quarters.

Mined copper volumes were down 18% in the quarter and by 10% over nine months at 129.6mln and 395.4mln tonnes respectively.

Aluminium production increased 1% for the quarter but was down 1% over the three quarters.

Bauxite volumes improved 5% in Q3 and by 7% over three quarters. Titanium dioxide slag reduced 9% for Q3 and 8% for the three quarters.

“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,” said chief executive J-S Jacques.

“We have maintained our capex guidance and our 2020 production guidance across our key products.”

The Rio boss also said the company is focused on regaining the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people (PKKP).

Jacques, who previously pledged to step-down before the end of March 2021 in the wake of scandal relating to the destruction of the historical aboriginal sites, added: “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.”

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