Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group released production results for the first quarter on Tuesday. Though generally down compared to the fourth quarter, the aluminium business’s production generally rose over the first quarter of 2020.
For the year’s first quarter the firm mined 13.6 thousand metric tons of bauxite ore, which was less by 2 percent on the year but up by an equal percentage on the quarter. Rio Tinto said the firm faced challenges mining bauxite in the quarter due to wet weather, specifically the closure of the Amrun mine for two weeks due to large swells and cyclones.
Rio Tinto shipped 9 million metric tons of bauxite to third parties in the first quarter, which was less by 5 percent on the year due to the above-mentioned weather events.
Alumina production came to 2.0 thousand metric tons in the first quarter, down by 2 percent on the month but better by 1 percent on the year. Rio Tinto credited the rise over last year’s total due to the stability of operations at both of the firm’s Pacific refineries.
Aluminium production in the quarter came to 803 thousand metric tons, which is 3 percent above the prior first quarter but 1 percent below last year’s fourth quarter. Production benefited by the Betancourt smelter in Quebec operating at full capacity and the pot relining at Kitimat, British Columbia nearing completion.
“We achieved an overall solid operating performance in the first quarter,” said Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm. “We have maintained guidance ranges in all our products, with site teams successfully managing the effects of significant rainfall, in particular at our Australian iron ore assets.”
“It has been a period of deep reflection for the company, and I have personally spent a significant amount of time listening, learning and taking actions, in particular to better manage Traditional Owner partnerships and cultural heritage. I have appointed a new leadership team and the transition is progressing well. We have set out clear priorities to develop a stronger Rio Tinto. Our focus is to become the best operator, strive for impeccable ESG credentials, excel in development and secure a strong social licence. This ambition will enable us to continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society.”
Rio Tinto noted a rising demand for aluminium in automotive, packaging, construction, and electronics. The firm said that value-added aluminium production has returned to the levels prior to the coronavirus epidemic of 51 percent.