Production up at Rio Tinto’s Oz operations

GLOBAL resources giant Rio Tinto has revealed a quarter-on-quarter production rise in its Australian operations, bouncing back from several cyclones, widespread flooding and a train derailment which impeded its March performance.

Rio’s global iron-ore production increased by 49m tonnes during the second quarter of this year, up 12 per cent on the previous quarter.

However, Rio’s first half shipments of iron ore from its Australian and Canadian operations have suffered nonetheless – at 110m tonnes, they were 6m tonnes lower than the comparable half of 2010.

“Operations largely recovered from the severe weather impacts earlier this year, although some port and rail constraints remained,” said Rio chief executive Tom Albanese.

“This quarter was also characterised by continued strong prices for most of our metals and minerals, but with worsening adverse exchange rates and some input cost pressures. Our growth programme was boosted by the successful $4bn acquisition of Riversdale, giving us further options to develop our tier one assets.”

Bauxite and alumina productions also saw improvements during the quarter of eight per cent and six per cent on the flood-affected first quarter, and its Queensland coal mines are steadily recovering from the severe flood-related disruptions earlier this year.

Thermal coal production grew by 18 per cent on the first quarter, and hard coking coal production was up nine per cent on the first quarter, but down 26 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2010 due to the heavy rains.