Rio Tinto iron output hit by cyclones in Oz

City A.M. Reporter
GLOBAL miner Rio Tinto yesterday forecast iron ore production to roughly meet market expectations for the full-year, despite rain and cyclones denting output of its most valuable commodity in the first-quarter.

The world’s second-largest producer of the steel-making raw material reported a three per cent fall in production for the March quarter, after cyclones battered its operations in northwest Australia early this year.

Rio’s production of hard coking coal, also used in steel-making, tumbled 12 per cent in the first-quarter from a year earlier, though this had been expected after major flooding in the country’s main coking-coal region of northeast Australia.

“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,” chief executive Tom Albanese said in the company’s quarterly production report.

Rio, the first of the large miners operating in this area to report production, is widely seen as a barometer for a sector operating at full tilt, as miners try to satisfy insatiable demand for industrial metals from China and other emerging markets, and take advantage of record prices.