Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto released third-quarter production results late last week. Though gains were not strong compared to the previous quarter, year-on-year and year-to-date showings fared better.
In the just-ended quarter Rio turned out 12.4 million metric tons of bauxite, 1.98 million metric tons of alumina, and 924 thousand metric tons of aluminium. Bauxite production was up three percent from the previous quarter, alumina was down by four percent, and aluminium was up slightly by one percent. However, compared to last year’s third quarter, bauxite production was better by ten percent, alumina was up by one percent, and aluminium was up by eleven percent.
For the year to date ending September 30, Rio Tinto produced 35.6 million metric tons of bauxite ore, 6.1 million metric tons of alumina, and 2.7 million metric tons of primary aluminium. Compared to the same time period in 2015 bauxite was up ten percent, alumina was up five percent, and aluminium was up eleven percent.
Rio explains the uptick in bauxite production as being driven by increases in output by its mines at Weipa and Gove. The mines increased production by five percent and twenty-five percent, respectively. The firm chalks up increased alumina production by ramp-up progress and operational improvements at the Yarwun refinery, which yielded a six-percent increase in third-quarter production.
Increased aluminium production is due to a quarterly production record at Kitimat, the second consecutive production record, according to the press release.
“We have delivered strong quarterly production, underpinned by improving operational performance across our Tier 1 portfolio,” explained Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques. Output from our iron ore and bauxite assets reflects the drive for productivity and operational excellence. With a continued focus on value, we will seek further productivity improvements across the business. Our rigorous attention to cash generation, coupled with a disciplined allocation of capital remains our key focus in delivering shareholder value.”
The firm expects to finish the year having produced 47 million tons of bauxite, besting last year’s output by two million tons. It forecasts production of 7.8 million metric tons of alumina and 3.6 million metric tons of primary aluminium, equal to outputs achieved last year by the company.