Diversified mining group Rio Tinto has hailed a strong set of production results in the third quarter, with iron ore, copper, bauxite, alumina, and titanium dioxide output up year-on-year.
"As we said at our Investor Seminar last week, markets remain volatile, but our business is resilient and our operations are performing strongly, reflecting our consistent strategy of running large, long-life, cost-competitive operations," said Chief Executive Tom Albanese.
The firm achieved record quarterly iron ore production at its Pilbara project of 63m tonnes (Rio's share equates to 50m tonnes), up 5% from the third quarter of 2011. Iron ore output from all operations totalled 67m tonnes, also up 5%. Rio said that production continued to exceed sales in preparation for the expansion to 283m tonnes per annum.
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Copper production increased by 21% due to the expected higher copper grades at Escondida and Kennecott Utah Copper and increased ore delivered at Escondida.
Bauxite and alumina production rose 13% and 20%, respectively, and titanium dioxide feedstock production increased 5%.
Thermal coal production increased by 21% but hard coking coal production fell 13% due to the impact of dragline mechanical issues at Hail Creek and a major plant shutdown at Kestrel as part of the mine extension project.
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