Anglo-Australian metals miner Rio Tinto Group released production totals for the second quarter of 2017 yesterday. Among the firm’s highlights in the quarter was a record bauxite ore production of 12.9 million metric tons.
The firm record output was a 7 percent increase year-on-year, and a 14 percent increase quarter-on-quarter. Total production for the first half of 2017 was 24.2 million metric tons, a four-percent increase year-on-year.
Rio Tinto chalks up the record production total to corresponding record production at its Gove and Weipa operations, with Gove besting Q2 2016 production by 27 percent and Weipa producing four percent more bauxite year-on-year. Debottlenecking at Gove and recovery from severe weather at Weipa are credited with buoying production in the quarter and half, enabling Rio to set records in both periods for third-party shipping totals.
Alumina production for the quarter totaled 2 million metric tons, a two-percent decline year-on-year and a one-percent drop quarter-on-quarter. The first-half total was 4 million metric tons, off by a slender one percent year-on-year. Rio explained the marginal drop as a result of adverse weather conditions over the last quarter and half.
Aluminium production was essentially level over both the quarter and the half, with a total of 888 thousand metric tons smelted in the former and 1.8 million metric tons smelted in the latter period. Production was off by one percent year-on-year last quarter, but identical quarter-on-quarter and as compared to the first half of last year. Although production was steady in most smelters, Rio says that curtailments at Boyne Island negated most gains made in the just-ended quarter and half.
“This was a solid quarter for production, including record output at our bauxite operations,” opined Rio’s CEO J-S Jacques. “Iron ore production was in line with last year, although iron ore shipments were impacted by an acceleration in our rail maintenance programme following poor weather in the first quarter. We believe our focus on capital discipline, maximising cash flow from operations, driving productivity and portfolio shaping will continue to support the delivery of strong cash generation and shareholder returns.”
Rio says that production estimates for the year remain unchanged. The firm also advised investors that Amrun is still on schedule to begin shipments in the early half of 2019.