Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group released production and financial results for the second quarter yesterday. Though bauxite ore and alumina production rose in the quarter, production cuts stunted the firm’s aluminium production in that period.
In the previous quarter Rio Tinto mined 14,560 thousand metric tons of bauxite ore, up by 9 percent on the year and better by 5 percent on the quarter. Production at managed operations rose by 9 percent, led by an increase at Amrun, while production at non-managed CBG was up by 7 percent as a result of good progress at ramp up there. Third-party bauxite shipments totaled 10,721 thousand metric tons, an increase of 13 percent over the prior quarter and the previous year. In the year’s first half the firm mined 28,373 thousand metric tons, up by 8 percent on the year.
The second quarter saw Rio Tinto refine 1,990 thousand metric tons of alumina, up by 6 percent from the year prior but off by a percent from last quarter. The year’s first half saw Rio Tinto refine 4,000 thousand metric tons, better by 3 percent on the year. Increased production at Rio Tinto’s Pacific refineries boosted numbers in the period, led by Yarwun and its record half-year production.
Rio Tinto smelted a total of 785 thousand metric tons of aluminium in Q2, down by 2 percent from last year but level pegging from the first quarter. In the first half of 2020 the firm smelted 1,568 thousand metric tons, off by 2 percent on the year. Pot relining at Kitimat and capacity cuts at ISAL hurt production in the period, as well as coronavirus-related production cuts at NZAS. Ramp-up at Becancour helped blunt the impact, which now sets at 93 percent capacity after management and labor came to an agreement on a contract at the site.
Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques says the firm’s focus remains on safe operations throughout the pandemic and economic uncertainties.
“Our focus is to maintain a business as usual approach with many safeguards at a very unusual time. Our operational teams are continuing to run our assets safely so we can continue to contribute to local and national economies and serve our customers. We remain even more committed to our relationship with communities, following the Juukan Gorge events in the Pilbara, and we are engaging extensively with Traditional Owners around our operations and across Australia.”
“We are executing our value over volume strategy to drive performance, productivity and free cash flow per share,” he concluded. “We will remain agile and ready to adapt to the changing operating and macro environment.”