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First quarter 2010 alumina production was 1% higher than the same quarter of 2009 and 3% lower than the previous quarter. Production at QAL was impacted by weather events and maintenance in the first quarter, while production at Gove was impacted by unplanned maintenance.
Minerals production continued to be affected by lower demand in line with reduced economic activity across all major regions. Talc was the exception, demonstrating a 19% improvement on the first quarter of 2009 in response to increased demand for polymers. Borates production was up 2% compared with the prior quarter. The company began utilizing temporary substitute labor while it continued contract negotiations with represented workers at the boron mine.
“In the first quarter, most of our operations continued to run at capacity,” said Tom Albanese, chief executive. “Chinese demand grew strongly and we saw some recovery in OECD markets, but we are still cautious about short-term volatility. The long-term outlook remains very strong and we are now ramping up our growth projects with sustained investment in our iron ore business and the start of development of Oyu Tolgoi.”
Additional details are available at www.riotinto.com.