According to fourth-quarter numbers released by Rio Tinto on Monday, its refinery at Yarwun, Australia, set a production record last year.
Rio Tinto’s final numbers for last year show the Yarwun refinery’s production at 2.104 million metric tons, which was an eleven-percent increase over 2015. When taken together with Rio’s other refinery at Gove, the firm’s alumina output in Queensland last year was 8.192 million metric tons.
“We have delivered strong operational performance in 2016 underpinned by our drive for efficiency and maximising cash flow,” said J-S Jacques, Rio Tinto’s CEO. “Our disciplined approach remains in place in 2017, with the continued focus on productivity, cost reduction and commercial excellence. This will ensure that we continue to deliver value for our shareholders.”
Rio chalks up the record production to “operational improvements driving record production at the Yarwun refinery.”
“We focus on delivering value to shareholders,” Jacques explained.
Going forward, Rio expects a company-wide bauxite production of between 48 and 50 million metric tons of bauxite in 2017, 8 to 8.2 million metric tons of alumina, and 3.5 to 3.7 million metric tons of primary aluminium.
“This focus is unrelenting, with further cost reductions achieved in the half and EBITDA margins of 33%,” said Jacques. “With our strong operating cash flows, tight control over capital expenditure and progress on divestments, the balance sheet remains robust. Having paid the 2015 final dividend of $1.9 billion in April 2016, we reduced net debt during the half to $12.9 billion.”
“Our balance sheet strength and Tier 1 assets provide a stable foundation in these uncertain and volatile markets, which is fundamental in a cyclical and capital-intensive industry,” he went on. “We will generate cash at every opportunity, which we will then allocate in a disciplined way to deliver returns to shareholders, while also investing in compelling growth.”