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Capacity of Pilbara iron ore operations increased to 225 million tons per year (Mt/a) at the end of the first quarter, following completion of the first debottlenecking project at the Dampier port. Mined copper was down 14% on the first quarter of 2010, reflecting lower grades at Escondida and Grasberg.
Alumina production was down 4% for the quarter, primarily due to heavy rains in Queensland. Bauxite and aluminum production were broadly flat.
Severe monsoonal rains led to the declaration of force majeure at the four Queensland mines at the end of 2010 and remains in place at Hail Creek.
“Our Australian coal, iron ore, uranium and alumina operations were affected by the extreme weather in the first quarter, but most are recovering and are benefiting from continued strong prices,” said Tom Albanese, chief executive. “We have successfully gained control of Riversdale Mining Ltd. and plan to accelerate the development of these significant tier-one coking coal assets.”
For additional details, visit www.riotinto.com.