Rio Tinto recently released its second quarter 2012 operations review. During the first half, the company reported iron ore production of 120 million tons (94 million tons attributable) and shipments of 115 million tons—both 4% higher than the first half of 2011. Global iron ore production for the quarter totaled 62 million tons (49 million tons attributable), in line with the second quarter of 2011.
During the second quarter, Rio Tinto announced further investments to advance the expansion of its Pilbara iron ore business to 353 million tons per year (Mt/a) and to progress further the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.
Bauxite and alumina production were 8% and 5% higher, respectively, than the second quarter of 2011. Aluminum was 12% lower than the second quarter of 2011, primarily reflecting the shutdown of two-thirds of capacity at Alma due to a labor dispute that has now been resolved. Construction of the Yarwun 2 alumina refinery expansion was completed during the quarter, with first commercial production expected in the third quarter of 2012. In addition, titanium dioxide feedstock production increased 5% from the corresponding period in 2011.
“The second quarter was strong across most of the portfolio, with record first half iron ore production, and copper, bauxite, alumina, coking coal and titanium dioxide production all higher than in the second quarter of 2011,” said Tom Albanese, chief executive. “Global economic conditions and sentiment dropped markedly in the second quarter. We are keeping a close eye on the pace of the U.S. recovery, the continuing Euro zone crisis and the impact of efforts to stimulate the Chinese economy on the markets that we serve. Our investment program remains resilient to this market volatility, as our tier-one projects are robust under any probable macroeconomic scenario.”
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