Rio Tinto recently reported record quarterly and annual production, shipments, and rail volumes. Fourth quarter bauxite production set a new quarterly record and was 7% higher than the same period in 2012. Production for 2013 was up 10% over 2012. Full year bauxite production records were achieved at Weipa, Gove and Sangaredi to take advantage of higher third-party demand.
Fourth quarter Rio Tinto Alcan alumina production was 1% lower than the same period in 2012. Production for the full year was 1% higher than in 2012, as output from the Yarwun expansion broadly offset the impacts of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, which both Queensland refineries experienced in the first quarter of 2013.
On November 29, 2013, Rio Tinto announced that it intended to suspend alumina production at Gove and focus on its bauxite operations after determining the refinery was no longer a viable business in the current market environment. The Gove alumina refinery will progressively ramp down each of its three production stages. One stage will ramp down in February, a second stage between April and May and a third stage between June and July. The refinery will move to care and maintenance from July 2014 to ensure it is prepared for a potential re-start in the future. It will therefore continue to be reported separately from Rio Tinto Alcan.
“These are excellent fourth quarter operational results, demonstrating continued delivery on our commitments,” said Sam Walsh, chief executive. “We have set new records for iron ore production and shipments as we ramp up our 290 expansion, as well as achieving an impressive recovery in copper volumes and record annual production for both bauxite and thermal coal. We have exceeded our cost cutting targets for the year and announced or completed $3.5 billion of non-core asset sales. These actions, together with lower capital expenditure in 2013 and beyond, will ensure that Rio Tinto is well-positioned to deliver greater value to shareholders.”
For additional information, visit www.riotinto.com.