With the freefalling aluminium market as a “challenging backdrop,” Rio Tinto Group released its numbers for the recently-ended fourth quarter of 2015 that showed modest gains in the firm’s aluminium business.
Rio Tinto mined over eleven million metric tons of bauxite in the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing the year’s total to 43.7 million metric tons, both of which represent a four percent increase over the same periods in 2014 (although Q4 results were down by 1% from Q3 numbers). The firm chalks this increase up to “record” production at its mine in Weipa, and a “ramp-up” in production at the Gove mine, in Queensland and Northern Territory, Australia, respectively. Rio Tinto says its Gove mine now has a production and export capacity of 8 million metric tons per year. Additionally, third-party shipments totaled over 26 million metric tons, which Rio Tinto says is the highest proportion of the firm’s total share ever. Rio Tinto expects to mine 45 million metric tons by the end of this year.
Rio Tinto’s output of alumina totaled just over two million metric tons in the fourth quarter of 2015, which was a three percent increase over the previous quarter and a four percent increase compared to the same time period in 2014. The firm finished the year having shipped 7.8 million metric tons of alumina, which is four percent greater than the previous year. Rio Tinto credits “continued consistent performance across Rio Tinto’s refineries.” The firm said that they intend to produce another 7.8 million metric tons of alumina in the year 2016.
Aluminium production was up across the board as well. The firm sold 864,000 tons of it in the fourth quarter of last year, which represents a four percent increase over both Q3 of 2015 and Q4 of 2014. Rio Tinto’s final aluminum output for 2015 was 3.3 million metric tons, which is an improvement of one percent over the year previous. The firm projects a slight increase in aluminium production this year, estimating an output of 3.6 million metric tons before year’s end.