Raw material specialists Rio Tinto have revealed production levels for the full-year have dropped across the board following challenging weather conditions, the spread of Covid-19, and capacity issues.
Production of pibara iron ore shipments fell four per cent to 319.7mt in 2021, while shipments dropped three per cent.
The biggest drops included titanium dioxide slag production, which plummeted nine per cent, and mined copper which fell seven per cent over the 12-month window.
Iron ore pellets and concentrate also declined six per cent, while key materials bauxite and aluminium dropped three and one per cent respectively.
The results follow the appointment of Dominic Barton as Rio Tinto’s new chair last month.
He will succeed Simon Thompson in the role and will join the board with from April 2022.
One positive piece of news in the full-year report, amid the production shortfalls was that Rio Tinto also revealed it had achieved a third consecutive year with no fatalities at our managed operations.
This was despite fatigue, labour shortages and supply pressures from COVID-19 heightening the safety risk in day-to-day operations.
In a further boost for the raw material specialists, Rio Tinto has also entered into an agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina from Rincon Mining for $825m.
Rincon is one of the largest undeveloped lithium brine projects in the world, located in the heart of the lithium triangle in Salta Province.
The report also highlights that Rio Tinto unveiled a decarbonisation strategy in October, aiming to reduce emissions by 15 per cent by 2025, and for a 50 per cent cut in scope 1 and 2 emissions by the end of the decade.
The following month, it announced the ELYSIS joint venture successfully produced aluminium without any direct greenhouse gas emissions from commercial-size cells.
It has also seen encouraging signs from its Rio Tinto Safe Production System (RTSPS) across five pilot sites.
The scheme focuses on sustainably unlocking capacity across the system, with significant improvement at its Kennecott concentrator site already reported since its rollout.
A significantly larger programme is planned for 2022, with 30 deployments at 15 sites, alongside 80 rapid improvement projects which aim at improving targeted bottlenecks.
Rio Tinto has also issued $1.25 billion 30-year fixed rate SEC-registered bonds priced at 2.75 per cent.
The proceeds of the new issuance were used to fund the early redemption and extinguishment of the company’s $1.20 billion 3.75 per cent bonds due to mature in June 2025.