Australian cyclone hits Rio production

Marion Dakers
GLOBAL miner Rio Tinto said yesterday it expects cyclones affecting its coastal operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to affect shipped tonnage figures for the first quarter of this year.

Rio Tinto said it had maintained operations at 14 mines in the region but Cyclone Carlos has caused frequent interruptions at its Dampier and Cape Lambert operations.

A loaded train partially derailed at Daimper last Thursday, hampering transport until the rail is repaired later this week, Rio said.

The firm added that it has brought forward scheduled maintenance work to get rail and shipping operations up to full speed once the weather improves.

BHP Billiton, which has seven mines nearby, said it was monitoring the situation but did not report any disruption.

Rio Tinto plans to spend more than $7bn (£4.3bn) on expanding iron ore operations in the Pilbara region over the next five years.

In a separate announcement, Australian mining explorer Extract Resources said it was in talks with Rio to jointly develop its Husab Uranium project in Nambia and the neighbouring Rossing Uranium mine.

Extract said it was also holding talks with Kalahari Minerals to explore other options.

Meanwhile, Rio’s chief executive of diamonds and minerals Harry Kenyon-Slaney made more than £250,000 last week by selling shares awarded for performance and long service, the firm disclosed yesterday.

Rio Tinto’s London-listed shares closed down 1.94 per cent yesterday at £43.11.