Rio Tinto

Fourth quarter production results

RNS Number : 0974M
Rio Tinto PLC
19 January 2021
 

Rio Tinto releases fourth quarter production results

 

19 January 2021

 

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm, said: "We have delivered a strong safety and operational performance in the face of the significant global challenges of COVID-19. Our 2020 performance reflects the resilience of the business, and the commitment and flexibility of our employees, customers, communities and host governments.

 

"We are working to restore trust with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people. Some important progress has been made as set out in the joint statement issued in December following a meeting between the PKKP and Rio Tinto boards. We are also developing additional measures to strengthen our partnerships with Traditional Owners, including a commitment to modernise and improve agreements, particularly in the Pilbara. More broadly, we are determined to improve Rio Tinto's approach to stakeholder engagement globally by embedding a more inclusive approach that strengthens our overall thinking, decision-making and performance. However, I do not underestimate the time and effort it will take, genuinely working together with our partners, in order for Rio Tinto to drive the changes necessary to help restore trust and rebuild our reputation.

 

"Safe and well-run operations, together with world-class assets and a strong balance sheet, leave Rio Tinto well placed to generate superior returns for shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, while continuing to pay taxes and royalties in our host communities and make a broader contribution to society, including employment and procurement."

 

Production*

 

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Pilbara iron ore shipments (100% basis)

Mt

88.9

+2 

%

+8 

%

330.6

+1 

%

Pilbara iron ore production (100% basis)

Mt

86.0

+3 

%

%

333.4

+2 

%

Bauxite

Mt

13.3

-12 

%

-8 

%

56.1

+2 

%

Aluminium

kt

815

+4 

%

+2 

%

3,180

%

Mined Copper

kt

132.5

-4 

%

+2 

%

527.9

-9 

%

Titanium dioxide slag

kt

272

-5 

%

-7 

%

1,120

-7 

%

IOC iron ore pellets and concentrate

Mt

2.7

+7 

%

+17 

%

10.4

-1 

%

*Rio Tinto share unless otherwise stated

 

Q4 Operational update  

 

Our 2020 safety performance was strong, fatality-free for a second year in a row. Health and safety remains our top priority as we maintain use of the critical controls that protect our employees and the local communities with the resurgence of COVID-19 in several regions where we operate. Our all injury frequency rate (AIFR) improved by more than 10% for 2020 versus 2019 (0.42), demonstrating our ability to adapt to changing conditions.

 

Pilbara iron ore achieved a strong performance across the network in 2020, despite impacts from Cyclone Damien in the first quarter and COVID-19 disruptions which also resulted in the deferral of maintenance to the second half. Shipments of 330.6 million tonnes (100% basis) were 1% higher than 2019 and production of 333.4 million tonnes (100% basis), 2% higher than 2019. This was underpinned by record total material moved, 7% higher than the previous record in 2019.

 

Bauxite production of 56.1 million tonnes was 2% higher than 2019 supported by the ramp-up of the expansion at the CBG mine in Guinea, and steady performance at the Pacific mines.

 

Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes was in line with 2019, with lower volumes from the curtailment of Line 4 at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in New Zealand and from the Kitimat smelter pot relining campaign, offset by the ramp-up of the Becancour smelter in Quebec.

 

On 14 January 2021, we announced a new electricity agreement had been reached with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand's Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter until December, 2024.

 

Mined copper was above the guidance range, but 9% lower than 2019 due to lower grades at Kennecott as a result of planned pit sequencing and Oyu Tolgoi production phasing. The commercial and operational teams at Kennecott Utah achieved approximately 60,000 dry metric tonnes of copper concentrate sales in the fourth quarter to partly mitigate the impact of the delayed re-start of the smelter, which became fully operational during October.

 

On 16 December, we confirmed the definitive estimate of cost and schedule for Panel 0 of the Oyu Tolgoi underground project in Mongolia, with sustainable production expected to commence in October 2022 and development capital of $6.75 billion 1 , in line with previously announced ranges. Rio Tinto considers that additional milestones need to be met in order to ensure that the project can commence caving operations in 2021, including: outstanding government approvals; funding; and, a power solution. Further information can be found in the Investments, growth and development projects section below.

 

Titanium dioxide slag production of 1.1 million tonnes was 7% lower than 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions in Quebec and South Africa, lower market demand and operational disruptions at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM). With the COVID-19 resurgence in Quebec and South Africa, we continue to operate our assets with extensive measures in place to ensure the safety of our employees and communities.

 

Production of pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) was 1% lower than 2019 due to unplanned maintenance at the processing facilities in the third and fourth quarters. On 3 December, we signed a Reconciliation and Collaboration Agreement with the Innu communities of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John, re-confirming the long-term partnership between the company and the two communities over the coming decades.

 

On 10 December, we disclosed a maiden Ore Reserve and updated Mineral Resource at the 100% owned Jadar lithium-borates project in western Serbia. The Ore Reserve is 16.6 million tonnes at 1.81% Li2O and 13.4% B2O3. 2 Jadar would be capable of producing approximately 55 thousand tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate, as well as 160 thousand tonnes of boric acid (B2O3 units) and 255 thousand tonnes of sodium sulfate as by-products per annum. 3  

 

On 17 December, we announced the appointment of Jakob Stausholm as Chief Executive, effective 1 January 2021. Peter Cunningham has been appointed interim Chief Financial Officer, effective 1 January 2021.

 

On 15 January 2021, we announced that we have entered the next phase of public comment in the ongoing permitting process at the Resolution Copper Project in Arizona, led by the US Forest Service, with the release of its independently prepared Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The delay in publication of the Final EIS, which was originally scheduled for July 2020 by the Obama Administration, is a result of extensive public consultation, significant interagency coordination and COVID-19 related changes to the pace of work.

 

 

 

1 This estimate is at a better than feasibility study level of accuracy.

2 This Ore Reserve estimate was set out in a release to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) dated 10 December 2020 "Rio Tinto declares maiden Ore Reserve at Jadar" (ASX release). The Competent Person responsible for the information in the ASX release that relates to Ore Reserves is Mr Allan Earl who is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FAusIMM). Mr Earl's assessment is supported from a metallurgical perspective by Mr Gary Davis who is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (MAusIMM). Rio Tinto confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the ASX release, that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the ASX release continue to apply and have not materially changed, and that the form and context in which the Competent Persons' findings are presented have not been materially modified.

3 These production targets were previously reported in the ASX release on 10 December 2020. All material assumptions underpinning the production targets continue to apply and have not materially changed.

 

   

Cultural heritage  

 

We have commenced implementation of the recommendations from the Board review of cultural heritage management and are developing additional measures to enhance our partnerships, as we continue to focus on the longer-term process of regaining the trust of Traditional Owners. To support this, we are focused on making sure that we build a more inclusive and diverse work culture, which will require sustained effort over many years.

 

On 9 December, we acknowledged the release of the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia's interim report following the Parliamentary Inquiry into the destruction of rockshelters at Juukan Gorge. On 16 December, we set out our position on the Committee's Recommendation 1 contained in the interim report. All documents can be found on our dedicated page on the website here .

 

On 23 December, we issued a joint statement with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people confirming our shared commitment to work together to rebuild our relationship following the Juukan Gorge events in May 2020. We have made strong progress in recent months:

With the PKKP, we have worked on a rehabilitation programme for the Juukan 1 and Juukan 2 rock shelters and we are assessing ways to protect the area for the future. This includes a permanent mining moratorium around the Juukan Gorge area. We have moved the artefacts previously uncovered from the rockshelters to a purpose-built facility, with the support of the PKKP.

The PKKP and Rio Tinto boards met to reaffirm our apology and commitment to rebuilding our relationship. This followed a visit to the Juukan Gorge by our Chairman and the Chair of our Sustainability Committee with PKKP elders.

 

A summary of other key actions taken in the quarter are outlined below:

Reassessed all activities which have the potential to impact heritage sites. We will continue to review mine plans to ensure the protection of sites of exceptional cultural value and have increased monitoring of operating activities that have the potential to impact heritage sites. We have also integrated heritage management into our mining operations - our Product Groups have primary responsibility for our Communities and Social Performance (CSP) partnerships and engagement.

We have confirmed that Traditional Owners are not restricted from raising concerns about cultural heritage matters with anyone, or from applying for statutory protection of any cultural heritage sites. This forms part of our commitment to modernise our agreements with Traditional Owner groups in the Pilbara. This will take time to ensure the process involves meaningful participation of Traditional Owners. We will also engage with Traditional Owners on how best to incorporate a process of independent review to support the modernisation process. In the meantime, we continue to work with Traditional Owners under existing agreements and have increased engagement regarding current and proposed plans for mining activities.

Appointed Indigenous community leader, Wayne Bergmann, to consult with Traditional Owners on the formation of an Indigenous Advisory Group in Australia. The Advisory Group will advise the Board and senior management team and provide an alternative pathway for Traditional Owners to escalate any concerns they may have about our performance at a local level.

Strengthened the operational leadership of relationships with Traditional Owners and we are strengthening our business-wide cultural competency programme to build awareness and understanding.

Further to our commitment to invest $50 million to increase employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians in our business and enhance Indigenous leadership in our Australian operations, we have progressed plans to advance Indigenous leadership in our business with the launch of a leadership programme involving more than 200 Indigenous employees. We have also implemented a two-way mentoring relationship between Indigenous employees and senior leaders as part of a broader cultural competency programme.

 

 
 
 

 

 

Our markets

Economic activity, particularly in Europe, continues to be disrupted in the short term due to measures to combat COVID-19. Monetary policy is expected to remain accommodative and fiscal policy is also expected to be utilised extensively, both of which should be supportive of commodity demand.

In China, the industrial sector has recovered and is now at pre-COVID levels due to the rapid deployment of stimulus. Exports continue to rise with the global economic recovery, and a policy shift to promote domestic investment and consumption is supportive of the commodity demand outlook.

Iron ore prices rose significantly in the second half of 2020 on the back of tightened market fundamentals. China's buying remains robust despite ongoing localised impacts from COVID-19 in some regions. Demand in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Europe is recovering, amplified by restocking.

The aluminium price has rebounded on solid downstream demand, particularly in the automotive and packaging sectors. We remain cautious on the outlook due to an expected increase in Chinese supply and high global inventories. 

Copper prices remain strong. Chinese consumption is robust, mine and scrap supply have been disrupted, and investment demand is strong. We expect global fiscal stimulus, particularly in the electrification and renewables sectors, to be copper-intensive and supportive of the outlook.

 

Average realised prices achieved for our major commodities

 

 

Units

2020

2019

Pilbara iron ore

FOB, $/wmt

91.0

79.0

Pilbara iron ore

FOB, $/dmt

98.9

85.9

Aluminium*

Metal, $/t

1,946

2,132

Copper**

US cents per lb

283.0

274.0

IOC pellets

$/wmt

127.6

137.1

 

*LME plus all-in premiums (product and market)

**Realised price for all units sold, adjusted for provisionally priced contracts

 

Product stewardship, our value chain and sustainability

As part of our approach to work in partnerships with customers and other stakeholders to progress the decarbonisation of our value chain, in line with our Climate Strategy, we advanced three partnerships in the fourth quarter:

On 23 November, we announced a renewed partnership agreement with China's Tsinghua University and a further commitment of 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) over the next five years to support research projects at the Tsinghua-Rio Tinto Joint Research Centre for Resources, Energy and Sustainable Development.

On 16 December, we announced the advancement of a climate partnership with the world's largest steel producer China Baowu Steel Group, and Tsinghua University, including a commitment to invest $10 million over the next two years in low-carbon steelmaking projects and research.

On 16 December, we announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Japan's largest steel producer, Nippon Steel Corporation to jointly explore, develop and demonstrate technologies to transition to a low-carbon emission steel value chain.

 

On 16 December, we announced the completion of construction on the ELYSIS Industrial Research and Development Centre in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec. Commissioning of the Industrial Research and Development Centre is now underway.

 

On 17 December, we announced an investment of $8.4 million to expand the recycling capacity of our aluminium operations in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, to offer rolled product customers in North America a new, sustainable solution combining low-carbon and recycled aluminium. With an initial capacity of 22,000 metric tons of remelted aluminium per year, the new aluminium recycling system is expected to be operational at the end of 2021.

 

Following successful pilot plant trials to extract high purity scandium oxide from the waste streams of titanium dioxide production, on 14 January 2021 we announced an initial investment of $6 million for construction of a first module in a new commercial scale demonstration plant at our Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. Commercial supply of scandium oxide is expected in the second quarter of 2021, making RTFT the first producer of high-quality scandium oxide in North America.

 

 

                     

COVID-19

 

We continue to manage the risk of COVID-19 as countries tighten restrictions and work to fight against a

resurgence of the virus. Our absolute priority is to maintain significant levels of support and care for our employees, contractors, and host communities, particularly with the re-emerging risk for our operations and projects in Canada, the United States, South Africa and Mongolia. We are focused on well-being initiatives globally, and embrace flexible working arrangements.

 

At the Oyu Tolgoi operation in Mongolia, we continue to apply the strictest measures, including testing for all employees before access to site. We maintain focus on health, safety and well-being of our employees and contractors amid the restrictions on domestic and international travel, and will continue to rotate employees when safe to do so.

We are in regular contact with health authorities in Canada - both in Northern British Columbia and Quebec - with the rapid increase in cases. We are applying extensive measures to ensure the safety of our employees and communities including travel management protocols for employees and contractors along with reduced access to site.

At our Diavik operation in the Northwest Territories of Canada, since testing commenced in May, we have taken nearly 20,000 swabs at the mine site which have been analysed through our on-site laboratory, including some for nearby mines that we service.

At our Boron site in California, support has been provided to employees with ongoing rapid testing, and the implementation of reduced site hours to lessen the transmission risk and to protect our employees.

With the outbreaks in the eastern states of Australia, State border closures are being closely monitored with site access controls and travel management protocols being utilised. 

We are actively managing the risks to seafarers from restrictions on crew changeovers due to COVID-19 measures in place in various countries. We continue to work with the industry, our shipowner partners and regulators to facilitate crew changes and protect crew welfare.

 

Communities

We have committed $25 million in COVID-19 related community projects globally, with around A$20 million in Australia including A$1.25 million over five years to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to improve emergency and remotely delivered health care services across the region.

In partnership with the United Nations, we have committed $600,000 to COVID-19 relief initiatives in Mongolia including donation of laboratory equipment. We are actively engaging with local coordinators and participating in working groups to support the rollout of a vaccine.

At Richards Bay Minerals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, we are committed to supporting our local communities and have donated more than R5.5 million to provide critical support to those impacted by COVID-19, including food and water supplies, as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers and clinics.

We are investing $10 million in a variety of grassroots projects across Canada and the United States to support local community efforts to fight COVID-19 and its social and economic impacts, along with supporting projects that maintain and create regional economic development.

In Arizona, the Resolution Copper Project partnered with the United Food Bank to deliver 75,000 meals to the White Mountain Apache Tribe. It also donated 50,000 cans of water to support tribes, in partnership with Ball Corp and Can'd Aid.

In the Northwest Territories, our Diavik diamond mine is partnering with the Yellowknife Women's Society to support its COVID-19 isolation shelter with a C$150,000 contribution. We are also contributing C$60,000 to five Indigenous communities for food and other needs.

 

Full details of initiatives taken to date can be found on our website .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Production guidance

 

Rio Tinto share, unless otherwise stated

2020 Actuals

2021

 

Pilbara iron ore (shipments, 100% basis) (Mt)

331

325 to 340

 

Bauxite (Mt)

56

56 to 59

 

Alumina (Mt)

8.0

7.8 to 8.2

 

Aluminium (Mt)

3.2

3.1 to 3.3

 

Mined copper (kt)

528

500 to 550

 

Refined copper (kt)

155

210 to 250

 

Diamonds (M carats)1

3.7

3.0 to 3.8

 

Titanium dioxide slag (Mt)

1.1

~1.1 to 1.3

 

IOC iron ore pellets and concentrate (Mt)

10.4

10.5 to 12.0

 

Boric oxide equivalent (Mt)

0.5

~0.5

 

 

1 Diamonds 2021 guidance and 2020 actual are for Diavik only for compatibility, following Argyle closure in 2020. Unadjusted Diamonds production for 2020 was 14.7 million carats, including both Diavik and Argyle operations.

 

We will continue to monitor and adjust production levels and product mix to meet customer requirements in line with our value over volume strategy, government imposed restrictions related to COVID-19 and any other potential COVID-19 related disruptions.

Iron ore shipments and bauxite production guidance remain subject to weather and market conditions. Iron ore guidance takes into account the risks associated with tying in approximately 90 million tonnes of replacement mine capacity at existing hubs in Robe Valley, West Angelas and Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 as well as the start-up of Gudai-Darri.

The future impact on our Pilbara iron ore operations, mine developments and heritage approach from the reform of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) remains unknown. We will maintain a high level of engagement with Traditional Owners regarding current and proposed plans for mining activities and continue to work through scenarios in an iterative manner as cultural assessments and mine designs progress, with a broad range of options available given the flexibility in our Pilbara network.

 

Investments, growth and development projects  

Project teams have proactively managed COVID-19 related challenges, and overall project delivery is satisfactory. Uncertainty continues to exist around local situations, border access, movement of people and goods.

Exploration and evaluation operating expense in 2020 was $625 million, $1 million higher than 2019, with some redistribution of activities from regions with greater COVID-19 restrictions such as Europe, Central Asia and America, and ramp-up of activities in Australia following the easing of restrictions. The teams were able to keep programmes running throughout 2020 whilst maintaining strong safety standards, protecting our people and communities.

 

Pilbara replacement projects

Gudai-Darri (formerly Koodaideri) progress continues with production ramp-up on track for early 2022. The airstrip is now complete and operational, and track work continues on the northern section of the railway.

First ore from the Robe River Joint Venture sustaining production projects (West Angelas C, D and Mesa B, C and H at Robe Valley) is still expected in 2021.  All required approvals have now been received.

Construction continues to progress at Western Turner Syncline Phase 2, with the project maintaining forecast first ore in 2021.

 

Oyu Tolgoi underground project

Technical progress

Work on the project has continued to progress despite restrictions from COVID-19 controls and ongoing international travel restrictions. In November 2020, the Mongolian State Emergency Commission declared an "all out readiness state" after Mongolia recorded its first community transmission of COVID-19. All movements in and out of Ulaanbaatar and all domestic flights were halted. Critical commissioning vendors and sinking crew are in-country, however timing was impacted by the nationwide lockdown and quarantine duration.

The project has deployed a number of mitigations that include extended on-site rosters, securing commitments from critical vendors to remain on site for extended periods and layered screening of personnel.

Overall underground lateral development has now reached 53,000 equivalent metres (eqm), with development for first drawbell substantially complete.

The project has now exceeded one million tonnes of material moved through shaft 2 since commissioning and scheduled annual maintenance of the shaft was successfully completed in October 2020 using remote technology.

Shaft 4 is now out of care and maintenance and the focus is on completing all construction and commissioning activities for load testing and verification, and for sinking to commence in early 2021. Shaft 3 remains on care and maintenance, with some minor construction.

On 16 December, we confirmed the definitive estimate of cost and schedule for Panel 0 with sustainable production expected to commence in October 2022 and development capital of $6.75 billion 1 , in line with previously announced ranges. These estimates include the known impacts of COVID-19. 2

At peak production, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to operate in the first quartile of the copper cash cost curve 3 and by 2030 is expected to be the fourth largest copper mine in the world. It is expected to produce 480,000 tonnes 4 of copper per year on average, from 2028 to 2036, from the open pit and underground. The underground Ore Reserve has an average copper grade of 1.52%, which is more than three times higher than the open pit Ore Reserve, and contains 0.31 grammes of gold per tonne. 5  

Other updates

On 4 January 2021, the Government of Mongolia advised Rio Tinto that they were dissatisfied with the results of the definitive estimate and the funding implications for the sharing of economic benefits between the shareholders of Oyu Tolgoi. The Government has also stressed the importance of achieving a comprehensive solution which addresses the social issues of importance to Mongolia, such as water usage and the corporate tax payments which have been referred to International Arbitration. We have been engaging with the Government and Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) to address these recent challenges within the scope of Parliament Resolution 92 , and remain open to improving the Underground Development and Financing Plan (UDP) to deliver even greater benefits from Oyu Tolgoi to all stakeholders.

Rio Tinto considers that additional milestones need to be met in order to ensure that the project can commence caving operations in 2021, including: outstanding government approvals - including registering the updated Resources and Reserves submitted in February 2020 and accepting the updated feasibility study (OTFS20) completed in July 2020 in accordance with the 2009 Investment Agreement and Mongolian regulation; funding as agreed with TRQ in the MOU in September 202 0 ; and, achieving the power milestones agreed with the Government of Mongolia in June 2020 . We continue to work closely with our partners, the Government of Mongolia and TRQ in the coming months to finalise these milestones, as outlined in our 16 December release .

On 22 December, Oyu Tolgoi received a Tax Assessment claim for approximately US$228 million from the Mongolian Tax Authority (MTA), relating to an audit of taxes paid between 2016 and 2018, in addition to the $752 million paid in the same period. Oyu Tolgoi has filed an application to include these matters to the pending international arbitration related to the years 2013 to 2015, which are of a similar nature.

 

Other key projects and exploration and evaluation

Phase one of the south wall pushback project at Kennecott remains on track, with access to higher grades expected from 2021.

The Zulti South project in South Africa remains on full suspension.

At the Kemano hydropower tunnel project in British Columbia, Canada, tunnel boring works re-started in September 2020. However, due to the escalation of COVID-19 in the province, tunnel boring operations have been temporarily suspended and the workforce has been limited to 160 people following a local order on 29 December. Care and maintenance activities are continuing on site until remobilisation plans can be safely implemented prior to resuming boring operations.

At the Resolution project in Arizona, the shaft 9 remediation and sinking project was completed in November, four months ahead of schedule and within budget. We now enter the next phase of public comment in the ongoing permitting process led by the US Forest Service (USFS), with the release of its independently prepared Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as announced on 15 January. The delay in publication of the Final EIS, which was originally scheduled for July 2020 by the Obama Administration, is a result of extensive public consultation, significant interagency coordination and COVID-19 related changes to the pace of work. We are committed to ongoing stakeholder engagement in our effort to seek consent to progress the project consistent with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.

At the Winu project in Western Australia, drilling and fieldwork activities continue with 90 kilometres of drilling completed during 2020. We are actively engaging with the Traditional Owners through on-country heritage surveys, monitoring and agreement making, which is expected to continue into 2021, with first ore now expected in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals, Traditional Owner and other consents and COVID-19 restrictions. We further expanded our ground holdings in the Paterson region with a farm-in joint venture signed with Sipa Resources Limited adjoining Winu and the Citadel joint venture tenements.

At the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, we expect to complete the first phase of the technical optimisation work on the infrastructure components in the first half of 2021. Activity at the mine area is starting including roadworks. We are progressing the implementation of the project's 2012 Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA).

The feasibility study at the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia continues and is expected to complete by the end of 2021. If the investment is approved, construction would take approximately four years. The declaration of resources and reserves in December was an important milestone as the project progresses towards the award of an exploitation license, the precursor to a construction licence.

 

1 This estimate is at a better than feasibility study level of accuracy.

2 The definitive estimate assumes restrictions in 2021 that are no more stringent than those experienced in September 2020. Mongolia implemented further restrictions at the end of 2020 in response to a re-emergence of COVID-19. Should COVID-19 constraints be maintained at December 2020 levels, escalate further in 2021 leading to tougher restrictions, or continue beyond 2021, additional costs and schedule impacts will arise.

3 WoodMackenzie copper equivalent cash cost curve (Q3 2020).

4 This production target (stated as recovered metal) for the Oyu Tolgoi underground and open pit mines was previously reported in a release to the market on 16 December 2020 (Market release). All material assumptions underpinning the production target continue to apply and have not materially changed.

5 This Ore Reserve estimate was set out in the Market release dated 16 December 2020. The Competent Persons responsible for the information in the Market release that relates to Ore Reserves were Mr Ferrin Prince and Mr Mark Bixley who are a Member and Fellow respectively of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Rio Tinto confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the Market release, that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the Market release continue to apply and have not materially changed, and that the form and context in which the Competent Persons' findings are presented have not been materially modified.

 

All figures in this report are unaudited. All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto's share of production, unless otherwise stated. To allow production numbers to be compared on a like-for-like basis, production from asset divestments completed in 2019 is excluded from Rio Tinto share of production data.

 

 

 

IRON ORE

Rio Tinto share of production (Million tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump1

21.7

+9 

%

+19 

%

77.4

-4 

%

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines1

31.1

+3 

%

-7 

%

123.3

+3 

%

Robe Valley Lump

1.4

-13 

%

-2 

%

5.6

+10 

%

Robe Valley Fines

2.6

-6 

%

+6 

%

10.5

+14 

%

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

14.2

%

-9 

%

58.8

+4 

%

Total Pilbara production

71.0

+3 

%

-1 

%

275.5

+2 

%

Total Pilbara production (100% basis)

86.0

+3 

%

%

333.4

+2 

%

 

Rio Tinto share of shipments (Million tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Pilbara Blend Lump

16.3

+1 

%

+5 

%

62.9

-5 

%

Pilbara Blend Fines

35.1

+13 

%

+11 

%

126.6

+5 

%

Robe Valley Lump

1.2

%

+12 

%

4.6

+14 

%

Robe Valley Fines

3.1

-6 

%

+12 

%

11.5

+9 

%

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

15.1

-1 

%

+6 

%

57.7

+1 

%

SP10 Lump1

1.0

-50 

%

+26 

%

3.9

-28 

%

SP10 Fines1

1.8

-15 

%

+19 

%

6.0

-37 

%

Total Pilbara shipments2

73.6

+3 

%

+9 

%

273.1

%

Total Pilbara shipments (100% basis)2

88.9

+2 

%

+8 

%

330.6

+1 

%

Total Pilbara Shipments (consolidated basis)2, 3

75.6

+3 

%

+9 

%

280.8

%

 

1 SP10 includes other lower grade products.

2 Shipments includes material shipped from the Pilbara to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards by the group in the same period.

3 While Rio Tinto has a 53% net beneficial interest in Robe River Iron Associates, it recognises 65% of the assets, liabilities, sales revenues and expenses in its accounts (as 30% is held through a 60% owned subsidiary and 35% is held through a 100% owned subsidiary). The consolidated basis sales reported here include Robe River Iron Associates on a 65% basis to enable comparison with revenue reported in the financial statements. 

 

Pilbara operations

Pilbara operations produced 333.4 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 275.5 million tonnes), 2% higher than 2019.  Fourth quarter production of 86.0 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 71.0 million tonnes) was 3% higher than the same period of 2019. Our mines also achieved record total material moved for the year, 7% higher than the previous record from 2019, highlighting the improvements to mine and asset health since 2019. A solid operational performance, considering weather disruptions and strict measures implemented in the second quarter to manage COVID-19.

 

2020 shipments of 330.6 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 273.1 million tonnes) were 1% higher than 2019. Shipments were impacted by Cyclone Damien in the first quarter and by the impacts of COVID-19, which also resulted in the deferral of maintenance at the port in the the third quarter. Fourth quarter shipments of 88.9 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 73.6 million tonnes) were 2% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019.

 

Whilst the port and rail currently hold the most capacity, the timing impacts of maintenance and grade blending resulted in the gap between final 2020 shipping and production figures.

 

Achieved realised pricing in 2020 was $91.0 per wet metric tonne on an FOB basis (equivalent to $98.9 per dry metric tonne, at 8% moisture assumption). This compares to the average price for the Platts 62% index of $101.6 per dry metric tonne. In 2019, average pricing was $79.0 per wet metric tonne ($85.9 dry metric tonne).

 

Lower market premiums for lump, which recovered in the fourth quarter, and the rising price environment throughout 2020 impacted our average achieved pricing compared with Platts due to the structure of our contracts, with approximately 13% of shipments in 2020 priced by reference to the prior quarter's average index lagged by one month. The remainder was sold either on current quarter average, current month average or on the spot market. Approximately 30% of 2020 sales were made on a free on board (FOB) basis, with the remainder sold including freight.

 

 

China Portside Trading

We continue to ramp up our port sales in China, with 5.5 million tonnes of sales in 2020 including 1.8 million tonnes in the fourth quarter. Our portside operation handles product from our operations in the Pilbara and in Canada as well as third party product, and provides blending and screening capabilities.

 

 

 

 

ALUMINIUM

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Bauxite

13,299 

 

-12 

%

-8 

%

56,131 

 

+2 

%

Bauxite third party shipments

9,104 

 

-17 

%

-10 

%

39,357 

 

-1 

%

Alumina

2,085 

 

+3 

%

+7 

%

8,039 

 

+4 

%

Aluminium

815 

 

+4 

%

+2 

%

3,180 

 

%

 

Bauxite

Bauxite production of 56.1 million tonnes was 2% higher than 2019 supported by the ramp-up of the expansion at the CBG mine in Guinea, and steady performance at the Pacific mines, including additional volumes from the start-up of the Amrun mine in 2019.

 

Fourth quarter bauxite production was 12% lower than the very strong quarter in 2019, reflecting phasing across the year to align with customer needs and a train failure at the Andoom mine at Weipa. This was partly offset by increased production from the expansion at the non-managed CBG mine in Guinea.

 

We shipped 39.4 million tonnes of bauxite to third parties in 2020, 1% lower than 2019. Shipments were prioritised throughout the year to align with customer needs, with a higher proportion of internal shipments to the Pacific refineries in the fourth quarter.

 

Alumina

Alumina production of 8.0 million tonnes was 4% higher than 2019 and the fourth quarter was 3% higher than the same period of 2019, as a result of strong production at both our Pacific refineries.

 

Aluminium

Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes was in line with 2019, with lower volumes from the curtailment of Line 4 at the Tiwai Point smelter in New Zealand and from the Kitimat smelter pot relining campaign, offset by the ramp-up of the Becancour smelter in Quebec, following its restart after a lockout at the end of 2019.

 

Production of 0.8 million tonnes in the fourth quarter was 4% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019 underpinned by the Becancour smelter operating at full capacity and the Kitimat smelter progressing well on its pot relining campaign.

 

Average realised aluminium prices including both product and market premiums for value-added products (VAP) were down by 9% to $1,946 per tonne in 2020 (2019: $2,132 per tonne). The LME price decreased by 5% to $1,702 per tonne (2019: $1,791), whilst the mid-west premium duty paid dropped by 2% to $313 per tonne in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 (2019: $320 per tonne). Our VAP sales dropped to 43% of primary metal sold in 2020 in line with the market (2019: 51%). Product premiums for VAP sales declined by 9% averaging, $213 per tonne of VAP sold (2019: $234 per tonne). Market demand for VAP rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2020, returning to normal levels. A 10% tariff on Canadian P1020 aluminium imports into the United States was paid between 6 August and 1 September 2020 under Section 232.

 

In January 2021, Rio Tinto reached an agreement on a new electricity supply agreement with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point smelter until December, 2024. The extension of operations provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future.

 

Work is ongoing on the strategic review of the ISAL smelter in Iceland, announced in February 2020. In July 2020, we submitted a complaint to the Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA), alleging abuse of market dominance by energy supplier Landsvirkjun. Discussions with Landsvirkjun, to improve the competitiveness of the asset, are ongoing.

 

 

 

 

COPPER AND DIAMONDS

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Mined copper

 

 

 

 

 

Kennecott

33.8

-4 

%

-2 

%

140.0

-25 

%

Escondida

84.8

-8 

%

+2 

%

337.8

-1 

%

Oyu Tolgoi

14.0

+27 

%

+15 

%

50.2

+2 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refined copper

 

 

 

 

 

Kennecott

40.9

-21 

%

+292 

%

84.8

-54 

%

Escondida

15.2

-26 

%

+6 

%

70.2

-7 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 carats)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Argyle

1,893 

 

-44 

%

-41 

%

10,945

-16 

%

Diavik

910 

+8 

%

-9 

%

3,731

-7 

%

 

Kennecott

Mined copper production was 25% lower than 2019, due to a 28% reduction in grade. This was as a result of lower grades at the end of the east wall mining and sequencing to optimise molybdenum ore production during the extended smelter shutdown in the second and third quarters. Development in the pit progressed despite the effects from the earthquake in March and COVID-19 disruptions. As a result, grades are expected to gradually increase from 2021, with the transition from east to south wall mining.

 

Refined copper production was 54% lower than 2019 due to the flash converting furnace rebuild required following the earthquake and delays in restarting the smelter following planned major maintenance in mid-2020. The smelter was safely restarted and became fully operational during October. Approximately 60,000 dry metric tonnes of copper concentrate sales were realised in the fourth quarter to manage inventory as a result of the delayed smelter re-start, taking advantage of the strengthened market.

 

Molybdenum concentrate production was 82% higher than 2019, due to significantly higher head grades in the lower pit of the east wall mine sequence, and productivity improvements.

 

Escondida

Mined copper production was 1% lower than 2019, mainly due to 15% lower material stacked into the leaching pads as a result of preventive measures in response to COVID-19, which was offset by 5% higher concentrator throughput in 2020. Refined copper was also impacted by lower material stacked into the leach pads.

 

Oyu Tolgoi

Mined copper production from the open pit was 2% higher than 2019, reflective of the anticipated move to higher grade areas of the open pit, primarily due to accelerated mine development and production phasing.  In the fourth quarter, pit phasing delivered higher gold production (+139%) compared to the prior quarter. Access to higher copper and gold grades is expected to continue throughout 2021. We maintained shipments across the Chinese border despite COVID-19 measures in Mongolia. We continue to work closely with authorities to manage the risk of supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19.

 

 

Provisional pricing

At 31 December 2020, the Group had approximately 260 million pounds of copper sales that were

provisionally priced at 336 cents per pound. The final price of these sales will be determined during the first

half of 2021. This compares with 220 million pounds of open shipments at 31 December 2019,

provisionally priced at 271 cents per pound. Provisional pricing adjustments positively impacted revenues in 2020 by $182 million (2019 positive impact of $6 million).

 

Diamonds

On 3 November, we announced the final day of mining at Argyle after 37 years of operations. The closure process is expected to take five years to decommission and dismantle the mine and undertake rehabilitation, followed by a further period of monitoring. The penultimate Argyle Pink Diamonds tender continued its trajectory of double digit price growth and a record number of participants with successful bidders from eight countries.

 

At Diavik, carats recovered in 2020 were 7% lower than 2019, with a 10% grade reduction partially offset by an increase in ore tonnes processed.

 

 

 

 

ENERGY AND MINERALS

Rio Tinto share of production (million tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Iron ore pellets and concentrate

 

 

 

 

 

IOC

2.7

+7 

%

+17 

%

10.4

-1 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 tonnes)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Minerals

 

 

 

 

 

Borates - B2O3 content

100

-22 

%

-19 

%

480

-8 

%

Titanium dioxide slag

272

-5 

%

-7 

%

1,120

-7 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 lbs)

Q4
2020

vs Q4
2019

vs Q3
2020

Full Year
2020

vs Full Year
2019

Uranium

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Resources of Australia

742

+16 

%

+1 

%

2,870

+9 

%

 

 

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC)

Iron ore pellets and concentrate production was 1% lower than 2019 due to an unplanned maintenance at the processing facilities in the third and fourth quarter. Fourth quarter production was 7% higher than corresponding period in 2019.

 

On 3 December, we signed a Reconciliation and Collaboration Agreement with the Innu communities of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John. This long term partnership will provide the foundation for a new mutually beneficial relationship based on dialogue, openness and trust between the company and the two communities over the coming decades.

 

We have continued the optimisation of IOC product mix to match market demand, returning to higher pellet production with all six lines in operation, following signs of recovery in demand from Europe.

 

Borates

Borates production was 8% lower than 2019 due to a period of lower demand related to COVID-19 uncertainty resulting in an adjustment to refinery operating rates. The extension of a planned shutdown impacted fourth quarter production.

 

Iron and Titanium

Titanium dioxide production was 7% lower than 2019, as we focused on our value over volume strategy to match market. We experienced operational challenges at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) due to a submerged dredge in the fourth quarter, and as a result, production was 5% lower than the corresponding quarter in 2019. Mitigations are in place to ensure customer supply throughout 2021.

 

Uranium

Our share of production was 9% higher than 2019, primarily due to our change in shareholding following completion of ERA's entitlement offer in February 2020 (our shareholding of ERA increased from 68.39 to 86.33 per cent). ERA's Ranger operation continued to process existing stockpiles uninterrupted during the fourth quarter, with production ceasing as of 8 January 2021, as required.

 

 

 

 

EXPLORATION AND EVALUATION

Pre-tax and pre-divestment expenditure on exploration and evaluation charged to the profit and loss account for 2020 was $625 million, compared with $624 million in 2019. Approximately 42% of this expenditure was incurred by central exploration, 40% by Copper & Diamonds, 9% by Energy & Minerals and 9% by Iron Ore.

 

There were no significant divestments of central exploration properties in 2020.

 

Exploration highlights

Rio Tinto has a strong portfolio of projects with activity in 16 countries across eight commodities in early exploration and studies stages. All projects have followed government COVID-19 requirements and guidelines while focusing on protecting health and well-being of local and Indigenous communities. The bulk of the exploration expenditure in the fourth quarter focused on copper in Australia, Kazakhstan, United States and Zambia, and diamonds projects in Canada. Mine-lease exploration continued at Rio Tinto managed businesses including Pilbara Iron in Australia, and Diavik in Canada.

 

Our exploration team have won the 2020 Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Prospector of the Year Award in Australia, for our copper-gold discovery at Winu in Western Australia, recognising the most outstanding mineral deposit discovery and the team who made the discovery.

 

At Falcon, bulk sample processing and final diamond recovery have been completed for ten trenches drilled in 2019, and reported in December 2020. Inspection, valuation and interpretation is ongoing.

 

A summary of activity for the quarter is as follows:

Commodities

Studies Stage

Advanced projects

Greenfield/ Brownfield programmes

Bauxite

 

Amargosa, Brazil*; Sanxai, Laos*

Cape York, Australia

Base Metals

Copper/molybdenum: Resolution, US;
Copper/Gold: Winu, Australia

Copper: La Granja, Peru, Pribrezhniy, Kazakhstan
Nickel: Tamarack, US (3rd party operated)

Copper Greenfield: Australia, Chile, China, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua*, Peru, Serbia, US, Zambia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia*, Finland, Kosovo (3rd party operated)
Nickel Greenfield: Canada, Finland

Diamonds

Falcon, Canada

 

Diamonds Greenfield: Canada
Diamonds Brownfield: Diavik

Minerals

Lithium borates: Jadar, Serbia
Potash: KL262, Canada
Heavy mineral sands: Mutamba, Mozambique (3rd party operated)

 

 

Iron Ore

Pilbara, Australia

Pilbara, Australia

Brownfield: Pilbara

 

*Limited activity during the quarter

 

 

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT

 

This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding Rio Tinto's financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto's products, production forecasts and reserve and resource positions and any statements related to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic), are forward-looking statements. The words "intend", "aim", "project", "anticipate", "estimate", "plan", "believes", "expects", "may", "would", "should", "could", "will", "target", "set to", "seek", "risk" or similar expressions, commonly identify such forward-looking statements.

 

Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Rio Tinto, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding Rio Tinto's present and future business strategies and the environment in which Rio Tinto will operate in the future. Among the important factors that could cause Rio Tinto's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are levels of actual production during any period, levels of demand and market prices, the ability to produce and transport products profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange rates on market prices and operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty and economic conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors, activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or regulation, the risks and uncertainties associated with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 or other pandemic and such other risk factors identified in Rio Tinto's most recent Annual report and accounts in Australia and the United Kingdom and the most recent Annual report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") or Form 6-Ks furnished to, or filed with, the SEC. The above list is not exhaustive. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, particularly in light of the current economic climate and the significant volatility, uncertainty and disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Rio Tinto expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking (except as required by applicable law, the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Rio Tinto's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

 

Nothing in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that future earnings per share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily match or exceed its historical published earnings per share.

 

 

CONTACTS

[email protected]

riotinto.com 

 

Follow @RioTinto on Twitter

 

 

Media Relations, United Kingdom

Illtud Harri

M +44 7920 503 600

 

David Outhwaite

T +44 20 7781 1623

M +44 7787 597 493

 

Media Relations, Americas

Matthew Klar

T +1 514 608 4429

 

Media Relations, Asia

Grant Donald

T +65 6679 9290

M +65 9722 6028

Media Relations, Australia

Jonathan Rose

T +61 3 9283 3088

M +61 447 028 913

 

Matt Chambers

T +61 3 9283 3087

M +61 433 525 739

 

Jesse Riseborough

T +61 8 6211 6013

M +61 436 653 412

Investor Relations, United Kingdom

Menno Sanderse

T +44 20 7781 1517

M +44 7825 195 178

 

David Ovington

T +44 20 7781 2051

M +44 7920 010 978

 

Clare Peever

M: +44 7788 967 877

Investor Relations, Australia

Natalie Worley

T +61 3 9283 3063

M +61 409 210 462

 

Amar Jambaa

T +61 3 9283 3627 

M +61 472 865 948

Group Company Secretary

Steve Allen

 

 

 

Rio Tinto plc

6 St James's Square

London SW1Y 4AD

United Kingdom

T +44 20 7781 2000

Registered in England

No. 719885

Joint Company Secretary

Tim Paine

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Limited

Level 7, 360 Collins Street

Melbourne 3000

Australia

T +61 3 9283 3333

Registered in Australia

ABN 96 004 458 404

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Rio Tinto's Group Company Secretary.

 

LEI: 213800YOEO5OQ72G2R82

Classification: 3.1 Additional regulated information required to be disclosed under the laws of a Member State

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto production summary

 

Rio Tinto share of production

 

 

 

 

Quarter

 

Full Year

 

% change

 

 

2019
Q4

2020
Q3

2020
Q4

 

2019

2020

 

Q4 20
vs
Q4 19

Q4 20
vs
Q3 20

  2020
vs
  2019

Principal commodities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumina

('000 t)

2,032

1,954

2,085

 

7,744

8,039

 

+3 

%

+7 

%

+4 

%

Aluminium

('000 t)

783

797

815

 

3,171

3,180

 

+4 

%

+2 

%

%

Bauxite

('000 t)

15,137

14,459

13,299

 

55,105

56,131

 

-12 

%

-8 

%

+2 

%

Borates

('000 t)

128

123

100

 

520

480

 

-22 

%

-19 

%

-8 

%

Copper - mined

('000 t)

138.7

129.6

132.5

 

577.4

527.9

 

-4 

%

+2 

%

-9 

%

Copper - refined

('000 t)

71.9

24.8

56.1

 

259.6

155.0

 

-22 

%

+126 

%

-40 

%

Diamonds

('000 cts)

4,203

4,204

2,803

 

17,030

14,676

 

-33 

%

-33 

%

-14 

%

Iron Ore

('000 t)

71,352

73,707

73,749

 

281,192

285,932

 

+3 

%

%

+2 

%

Titanium dioxide slag

('000 t)

286

293

272

 

1,206

1,120

 

-5 

%

-7 

%

-7 

%

Uranium

('000 lbs)

642

735

742

 

2,640

2,870

 

+16 

%

+1 

%

+9 

%

Other Metals & Minerals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold - mined

('000 oz)

75.0

68.7

89.1

 

389.7

283.0

 

+19 

%

+30 

%

-27 

%

Gold - refined

('000 oz)

63.3

3.7

38.9

 

218.7

117.5

 

-39 

%

+965 

%

-46 

%

Molybdenum

('000 t)

4.7

5.1

6.4

 

11.2

20.4

 

+37 

%

+25 

%

+82 

%

Salt

('000 t)

1,450

1,279

1,113

 

5,422

4,861

 

-23 

%

-13 

%

-10 

%

Silver - mined

('000 oz)

1,209

1,133

1,120

 

5,412

4,357

 

-7 

%

-1 

%

-19 

%

Silver - refined

('000 oz)

839

70

449

 

2,853

1,363

 

-46 

%

+542 

%

-52 

%

 

Throughout this report, figures in italics indicate adjustments made since the figure was previously quoted on the equivalent page or reported for the first time. Production figures are sometimes more precise than the rounded numbers shown, hence small differences may result between the total of the quarter figures and the year to date figures.

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALUMINA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonquière (Vaudreuil)

100 

%

345

373

340

347

364

1,413

1,424

Jonquière (Vaudreuil) specialty Alumina plant

100 

%

24

24

25

22

24

109

94

Queensland Alumina

80 

%

716

713

711

763

774

2,763

2,961

São Luis (Alumar)

10 

%

97

94

95

98

99

368

385

Yarwun

100 

%

850

806

820

725

823

3,091

3,175

Rio Tinto total alumina production

 

2,032

2,010

1,990

1,954

2,085

7,744

8,039

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALUMINIUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia - Bell Bay

100 

%

48

47

49

48

48

189

192

Australia - Boyne Island

59 

%

74

75

75

76

77

296

303

Australia - Tomago

52 

%

76

75

76

77

77

303

305

Canada - six wholly owned

100 

%

383

375

370

375

387

1,582

1,506

Canada - Alouette (Sept-Îles)

40 

%

62

61

62

63

63

241

249

Canada - Bécancour

25 

%

7

18

26

26

29

19

98

Iceland - ISAL (Reykjavik)

100 

%

43

45

44

46

48

184

183

New Zealand - Tiwai Point

79 

%

69

67

65

66

67

279

265

Oman - Sohar

20 

%

20

20

20

20

20

78

79

Rio Tinto total aluminium production

 

783

783

785

797

815

3,171

3,180

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAUXITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gove

100 

%

3,273

2,876

3,186

3,147

3,090

12,201

12,299

Porto Trombetas

12 

%

371

338

270

396

392

1,327

1,395

Sangaredi

  (b)

1,227

1,879

1,742

1,920

1,887

6,165

7,428

Weipa

100 

%

10,267

8,720

9,362

8,997

7,929

35,411

35,009

Rio Tinto total bauxite production

 

15,137

13,813

14,560

14,459

13,299

55,105

56,131

 

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto has a 22.95% shareholding in the Sangaredi mine but benefits from 45.0% of production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BORATES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes B2O3 content)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Borates - borates

100 

%

128 

 

126 

 

132 

 

123 

 

100 

 

520 

 

480 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine production ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingham Canyon

100 

%

35.4 

 

35.0 

 

36.5 

 

34.7 

 

33.8 

 

186.8 

 

140.0 

 

Escondida

30 

%

92.3 

 

86.2 

 

84.0 

 

82.8 

 

84.8 

 

341.6 

 

337.8 

 

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34 

%

11.0 

 

11.8 

 

12.2 

 

12.2 

 

14.0 

 

49.1 

 

50.2 

 

Rio Tinto total mine production

 

138.7 

 

133.0 

 

132.8 

 

129.6 

 

132.5 

 

577.4 

 

527.9 

 

Refined production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escondida

30 

%

20.5 

 

20.9 

 

19.7 

 

14.4 

 

15.2 

 

75.0 

 

70.2 

 

Rio Tinto Kennecott

100 

%

51.4 

 

26.4 

 

7.2 

 

10.4 

 

40.9 

 

184.6 

 

84.8 

 

Rio Tinto total refined production

 

71.9 

 

47.2 

 

26.9 

 

24.8 

 

56.1 

 

259.6 

 

155.0 

 

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIAMONDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 carats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argyle

100 

%

3,363

2,578

3,271

3,203

1,893

12,999

10,945

Diavik

60 

%

840

857

963

1,001

910

4,031

3,731

Rio Tinto total diamond production

 

4,203

3,434

4,235

4,204

2,803

17,030

14,676

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOLD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine production ('000 ounces) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingham Canyon

100 

%

52.0

41.9

40.2

43.7

45.3

234.7

171.2

Escondida

30 

%

14.8

10.8

13.0

12.7

14.3

74.0

50.9

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34 

%

8.2

8.8

10.4

12.3

29.4

81.1

61.0

Rio Tinto total mine production

 

75.0

61.5

63.6

68.7

89.1

389.7

283.0

Refined production ('000 ounces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Kennecott

100 

%

63.3

44.8

30.1

3.7

38.9

218.7

117.5

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRON ORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamersley mines

  (b)

52,521

49,327

53,187

54,852

53,316

209,392

210,682

Hamersley - Channar (c)

100 

%

1,452

1,160

1,334

1,710

1,935

4,782

6,139

Hope Downs

50 

%

6,047

5,667

5,659

6,625

6,571

24,132

24,522

Iron Ore Company of Canada

59 

%

2,564

2,560

2,762

2,340

2,740

10,536

10,402

Robe River - Pannawonica (Mesas J and A)

53 

%

4,360

3,880

4,307

3,882

3,988

14,284

16,056

Robe River - West Angelas

53 

%

4,409

4,193

4,440

4,298

5,199

18,066

18,131

Rio Tinto iron ore production ('000 tonnes)

 

71,352

66,787

71,689

73,707

73,749

281,192

285,932

Breakdown of Production:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump (d)

 

19,930

18,504

18,970

18,253

21,666

80,766

77,393

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines (d)

 

30,304

27,734

30,866

33,570

31,122

119,260

123,292

Robe Valley Lump

 

1,574

1,472

1,326

1,399

1,364

5,060

5,561

Robe Valley Fines

 

2,786

2,407

2,981

2,483

2,624

9,224

10,496

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

 

14,194

14,110

14,784

15,662

14,233

56,346

58,789

Pilbara iron ore production ('000 tonnes)

 

68,788

64,227

68,927

71,366

71,009

270,655

275,530

IOC Concentrate

 

1,146

923

1,523

1,038

1,297

4,629

4,781

IOC Pellets

 

1,418

1,637

1,240

1,302

1,443

5,908

5,622

IOC iron ore production ('000 tonnes)

 

2,564

2,560

2,762

2,340

2,740

10,536

10,402

Breakdown of Shipments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilbara Blend Lump

 

16,176

14,385

16,700

15,514

16,280

65,906

62,878

Pilbara Blend Fines

 

31,182

26,692

33,036

31,710

35,140

120,243

126,578

Robe Valley Lump

 

1,246

1,132

1,118

1,112

1,246

4,030

4,608

Robe Valley Fines

 

3,259

2,688

2,999

2,724

3,062

10,493

11,473

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

 

15,260

12,913

15,578

14,203

15,055

57,052

57,749

SP10 Lump (d)

 

2,072

1,006

1,014

822

1,037

5,391

3,879

SP10 Fines (d)

 

2,081

1,089

1,603

1,488

1,771

9,427

5,951

Pilbara iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes) (e)

 

71,277

59,903

72,048

67,574

73,590

272,540

273,115

Pilbara iron ore shipments - consolidated basis ('000 tonnes) (e) (g)

73,401

61,729

73,976

69,496

75,630

279,959

280,831

IOC Concentrate

 

1,223

1,006

1,410

1,355

1,157

4,479

4,928

IOC Pellets

 

1,413

1,769

1,320

1,378

1,539

5,641

6,006

IOC Iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes) (e)

 

2,636

2,775

2,731

2,733

2,696

10,120

10,934

Rio Tinto iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes) (e)

 

73,913

62,678

74,779

70,307

76,286

282,660

284,050

Rio Tinto iron ore sales ('000 tonnes)  (f)

 

72,334

62,433

74,808

69,993

75,765

281,081

282,998

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Includes 100% of production from Paraburdoo, Mt Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline, Marandoo, Yandicoogina, Brockman, Nammuldi, Silvergrass and the Eastern Range mines. Whilst Rio Tinto owns 54% of the Eastern Range mine, under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Hamersley Iron manages the operation and is obliged to purchase all mine production from the joint venture and therefore all of the production is included in Rio Tinto's share of production.

(c) Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Channar mine increased from 60% to 100%, following conclusion of its joint venture with Sinosteel Corporation upon reaching planned 290 million tonnes production on 22 October 2020. Production is reported at 100% from this date onward. Historic data is unchanged.

(d) SP10 include other lower grade products.

(e) Shipments includes material shipped to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards in the same period.

(f) Represents the difference between amounts shipped to portside trading and onward sales from portside trading, and third party volumes sold.

(g) While Rio Tinto has a 53% net beneficial interest in Robe River Iron Associates, it recognises 65% of the assets, liabilities, sales revenues and expenses in its accounts (as 30% is held through a 60% owned subsidiary and 35% is held through a 100% owned subsidiary). The consolidated basis sales reported here include Robe River Iron Associates on a 65% basis to enable comparison with revenue reported in the financial statements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of production

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOLYBDENUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine production ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingham Canyon

100 

%

4.7

5.1

3.9

5.1

6.4

11.2

20.4

                   

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dampier Salt

68 

%

1,450

1,044

1,425

1,279

1,113

5,422

4,861

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SILVER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine production ('000 ounces) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingham Canyon

100 

%

605

538

526

586

555

2,815

2,205

Escondida

30 

%

539

417

480

474

488

2,306

1,859

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34 

%

64

72

71

73

77

290

293

Rio Tinto total mine production

 

1,209

1,027

1,077

1,133

1,120

5,412

4,357

Refined production ('000 ounces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Kennecott

100 

%

839

462

382

70

449

2,853

1,363

 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TITANIUM DIOXIDE SLAG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium (a)

100 

%

286

293

262

293

272

1,206

1,120

                   

 

(a) Quantities comprise 100% of Rio Tinto Fer et Titane and Rio Tinto's 74% interest in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

URANIUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production ('000 lbs U3O8) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Resources of Australia

86 

%

642

676

718

735

742

2,640

2,870

                   

 

(a) ERA production data are drummed U3O8.

On 25 February 2020, Rio Tinto's ownership interest in ERA increased from 68.39% to 86.33%, following completion of its offer to ensure ERA has the funds it needs to meet its current rehabilitation obligations. Production is reported including this change from 1 March 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto's interest in the Rössing operations were sold in 2019. No data for these operations are included in the Share of production table.

 

Production figures are sometimes more precise than the rounded numbers shown, hence small differences may result between the total of the quarter figures and the year to date figures.

 

The Rio Tinto percentage shown above is at 31 December 2020.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALUMINA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smelter Grade Alumina - Aluminium Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumina production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queensland Alumina Refinery - Queensland

80.0 

%

895

891

889

953

968

3,454

3,701

Yarwun refinery - Queensland

100.0 

%

850

806

820

725

823

3,091

3,175

Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

São Luis (Alumar) refinery

10.0 

%

966

936

945

976

990

3,679

3,848

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonquière (Vaudreuil) refinery - Quebec (a)

100.0 

%

345

373

340

347

364

1,413

1,424

 

(a) Jonquière's (Vaudreuil's) production shows smelter grade alumina only and excludes hydrate produced and used for specialty alumina.

 

Speciality Alumina - Aluminium Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speciality alumina production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonquière (Vaudreuil) plant - Quebec

100.0 

%

24

24

25

22

24

109

94

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALUMINIUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Aluminium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary aluminium production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bell Bay smelter - Tasmania

100.0 

%

48

47

49

48

48

189

192

Boyne Island smelter - Queensland

59.4 

%

125

126

126

128

129

499

510

Tomago smelter - New South Wales

51.6 

%

148

145

148

150

149

588

592

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alma smelter - Quebec

100.0 

%

119

118

118

118

119

472

473

Alouette (Sept-Îles) smelter - Quebec

40.0 

%

155

153

155

156

158

602

623

Arvida smelter - Quebec

100.0 

%

44

44

42

41

41

175

169

Arvida AP60 smelter - Quebec

100.0 

%

15

15

15

15

15

60

60

Bécancour smelter - Quebec

25.1 

%

28

72

102

104

115

77

393

Grande-Baie smelter - Quebec

100.0 

%

59

58

55

55

57

233

225

Kitimat smelter - British Columbia

100.0 

%

81

76

78

84

91

385

329

Laterrière smelter - Quebec

100.0 

%

65

64

62

62

63

257

250

Iceland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISAL (Reykjavik) smelter

100.0 

%

43

45

44

46

48

184

183

New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiwai Point smelter

79.4 

%

87

84

82

84

84

351

333

Oman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sohar smelter

20.0 

%

98

99

99

100

100

391

397

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAUXITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bauxite production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gove mine - Northern Territory

100.0 

%

3,273

2,876

3,186

3,147

3,090

12,201

12,299

Weipa mine - Queensland

100.0 

%

10,267

8,720

9,362

8,997

7,929

35,411

35,009

Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porto Trombetas (MRN) mine

12.0 

%

3,090

2,814

2,251

3,296

3,268

11,060

11,629

Guinea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sangaredi mine (a)

23.0 

%

2,727

4,175

3,871

4,267

4,193

13,701

16,506

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto share of bauxite shipments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share of total bauxite shipments ('000 tonnes)

 

14,849

13,567

14,668

14,117

12,993

54,607

55,345

Share of third party bauxite shipments ('000 tonnes)

10,968

9,469

10,721

10,064

9,104

39,648

39,357

 

(a) Rio Tinto has a 22.95% shareholding in the Sangaredi mine but benefits from 45.0% of production.

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

BORATES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Borates - borates

100.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borates ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

128 

 

126 

 

132 

 

123 

 

100 

 

520 

 

480 

 

                                 

 

(a) Production is expressed as B2O3 content.

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPPER & GOLD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escondida

30.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sulphide ore to concentrator ('000 tonnes)

 

33,659 

 

33,440 

 

34,755 

 

34,733 

 

36,303 

 

132,161 

 

139,230 

 

Average copper grade (%)

 

0.87

0.82

0.81

0.85

0.83

0.85

0.83

Mill production (metals in concentrates):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contained copper ('000 tonnes)

 

246.1 

 

230.0 

 

236.8 

 

243.9 

 

246.1 

 

938.9 

 

956.8 

 

Contained gold ('000 ounces)

 

49.2 

 

36.0 

 

43.4 

 

42.3 

 

47.8 

 

246.7 

 

169.5 

 

Contained silver ('000 ounces)

 

1,798 

 

1,390 

 

1,599 

 

1,580 

 

1,627 

 

7,687 

 

6,196 

 

Recoverable copper in ore stacked for leaching ('000 tonnes) (a)

61.7 

 

57.2 

 

43.3 

 

32.1 

 

36.5 

 

199.7 

 

169.1 

 

Refined production from leach plants:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper cathode production ('000 tonnes)

 

68.4 

 

69.6 

 

65.5 

 

47.9 

 

50.8 

 

250.2 

 

233.9 

 

                                 

 

(a) The calculation of copper in material mined for leaching is based on ore stacked at the leach pad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPPER & GOLD (continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Kennecott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingham Canyon mine

100.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah, US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore treated ('000 tonnes)

 

11,141 

 

10,315 

 

10,083 

 

12,860 

 

11,418 

 

42,033 

 

44,676 

 

Average ore grade:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper (%)

 

0.36

0.37

0.41

0.32

0.34

0.50

0.36

Gold (g/t)

 

0.23

0.22

0.23

0.21

0.22

0.28

0.22

Silver (g/t)

 

2.09

2.16

2.14

2.00

2.07

2.60

2.08

Molybdenum (%)

 

0.061 

 

0.058 

 

0.056 

 

0.053 

 

0.068 

 

0.043 

 

0.059 

 

Copper concentrates produced ('000 tonnes)

 

156 

 

148 

 

135 

 

140 

 

138 

 

731 

 

561 

 

Average concentrate grade (% Cu)

 

22.6

23.7

26.6

24.7

24.2

25.5

24.8

Production of metals in copper concentrates:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper ('000 tonnes) (a)

 

35.4 

 

35.0 

 

36.5 

 

34.7 

 

33.8 

 

186.8 

 

140.0 

 

Gold ('000 ounces)

 

52.0 

 

41.9 

 

40.2 

 

43.7 

 

45.3 

 

234.7 

 

171.2 

 

Silver ('000 ounces)

 

605 

 

538 

 

526 

 

586 

 

555 

 

2,815 

 

2,205 

 

Molybdenum concentrates produced ('000 tonnes):

 

9.4 

 

10.4 

 

7.8 

 

10.3 

 

12.2 

 

22.4 

 

40.7 

 

Molybdenum in concentrates ('000 tonnes)

 

4.7 

 

5.1 

 

3.9 

 

5.1 

 

6.4 

 

11.2 

 

20.4 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kennecott smelter & refinery

100.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper concentrates smelted ('000 tonnes)

 

216 

 

161 

 

51 

 

 

234 

 

787 

 

448 

 

Copper anodes produced ('000 tonnes) (b)

 

53.7 

 

24.0 

 

(2.1)

 

20.2 

 

44.8 

 

186.6 

 

86.9 

 

Production of refined metal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper ('000 tonnes)

 

51.4 

 

26.4 

 

7.2 

 

10.4 

 

40.9 

 

184.6 

 

84.8 

 

Gold ('000 ounces) (c)

 

63.3 

 

44.8 

 

30.1 

 

3.7 

 

38.9 

 

218.7 

 

117.5 

 

Silver ('000 ounces) (c)

 

839 

 

462 

 

382 

 

70 

 

449 

 

2,853 

 

1,363 

 

 

(a) Includes a small amount of copper in precipitates.

(b) New metal excluding recycled material.

(c) Includes gold and silver in intermediate products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPPER & GOLD (continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turquoise Hill Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oyu Tolgoi mine (a)

33.5 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mongolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Treated ('000 tonnes)

 

11,088 

 

10,889 

 

9,645 

 

10,072 

 

9,594 

 

40,777 

 

40,200 

 

Average mill head grades:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper (%)

 

0.42

0.42

0.47

0.45

0.50

0.45

0.46

Gold (g/t)

 

0.15

0.15

0.19

0.21

0.41

0.29

0.24

Silver (g/t)

 

1.06

1.14

1.22

1.22

1.16

1.13

1.18

Copper concentrates produced ('000 tonnes)

 

152.6 

 

164.5 

 

169.9 

 

168.5 

 

190.2 

 

674.6 

 

693.1 

 

Average concentrate grade (% Cu)

 

21.6 

 

21.4 

 

21.5 

 

21.5 

 

21.9 

 

21.7 

 

21.6 

 

Production of metals in concentrates:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)

 

32.9 

 

35.2 

 

36.5 

 

36.3 

 

41.6 

 

146.3 

 

149.6 

 

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)

 

24.3 

 

26.2 

 

31.1 

 

36.7 

 

87.8 

 

241.8 

 

181.9 

 

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)

 

190 

 

214 

 

212 

 

219 

 

231 

 

867 

 

876 

 

Sales of metals in concentrates:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)

 

32.3 

 

25.8 

 

39.7 

 

34.4 

 

37.9 

 

149.9 

 

137.8 

 

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)

 

24.7 

 

19.7 

 

30.8 

 

33.6 

 

65.8 

 

273.6 

 

150.0 

 

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)

 

244 

 

146 

 

220 

 

201 

 

194 

 

896 

 

760 

 

                                 

 

(a) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources.

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIAMONDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argyle Diamonds

100.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AK1 ore processed ('000 tonnes)

 

1,977 

 

1,322 

 

1,571 

 

1,802 

 

1,078 

 

6,367 

 

5,773 

 

AK1 diamonds produced ('000 carats)

 

3,363 

 

2,578 

 

3,271 

 

3,203 

 

1,893 

 

12,999 

 

10,945 

 

Diavik Diamonds

60.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northwest Territories, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore processed ('000 tonnes)

 

516 

 

571 

 

626 

 

679 

 

643 

 

2,435 

 

2,518 

 

Diamonds recovered ('000 carats)

 

1,400 

 

1,428 

 

1,606 

 

1,668 

 

1,517 

 

6,719 

 

6,218 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRON ORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Iron Ore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilbara Operations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saleable iron ore production ('000 tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamersley mines

  (a)

52,521

49,327

53,187

54,852

53,316

209,392

210,682

Hamersley - Channar (b)

100.0 

%

2,420

1,934

2,223

2,849

2,169

7,970

9,175

Hope Downs

50.0 

%

12,095

11,334

11,318

13,250

13,142

48,264

49,045

Robe River - Pannawonica (Mesas J and A)

53.0 

%

8,225

7,320

8,126

7,324

7,525

26,951

30,295

Robe River - West Angelas

53.0 

%

8,318

7,912

8,378

8,110

9,809

34,086

34,209

Total production ('000 tonnes)

 

83,579

77,827

83,232

86,385

85,961

326,663

333,405

Breakdown of total production:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump (c)

 

24,326

22,592

23,222

22,674

25,888

98,119

94,375

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines (c)

 

36,833

33,806

37,100

40,725

38,316

145,247

149,947

Robe Valley Lump

 

2,969

2,778

2,502

2,639

2,574

9,547

10,492

Robe Valley Fines

 

5,256

4,542

5,625

4,685

4,951

17,404

19,803

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

 

14,194

14,110

14,784

15,662

14,233

56,346

58,789

Breakdown of total shipments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilbara Blend Lump

 

19,680

17,506

20,339

19,118

20,155

79,630

77,117

Pilbara Blend Fines

 

39,186

33,197

40,379

39,230

42,727

148,508

155,533

Robe Valley Lump

 

2,350

2,135

2,110

2,098

2,351

7,603

8,694

Robe Valley Fines

 

6,149

5,071

5,659

5,140

5,778

19,797

21,648

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

 

15,260

12,913

15,578

14,203

15,055

57,052

57,749

SP10 Lump (c)

 

2,072

1,006

1,014

822

1,037

5,391

3,879

SP10 Fines (c)

 

2,081

1,089

1,603

1,488

1,771

9,427

5,951

Total shipments ('000 tonnes) (d)

 

86,779

72,916

86,681

82,099

88,873

327,408

330,570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Ore Company of Canada

58.7 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec in Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saleable iron ore production:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concentrates ('000 tonnes)

 

1,951

1,572

2,593

1,768

2,208

7,883

8,141

Pellets ('000 tonnes)

 

2,415

2,788

2,112

2,217

2,457

10,061

9,574

IOC Total production ('000 tonnes)

 

4,366

4,360

4,704

3,985

4,666

17,943

17,715

Shipments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concentrates ('000 tonnes)

 

2,083

1,713

2,402

2,307

1,970

7,628

8,392

Pellets ('000 tonnes)

 

2,406

3,013

2,248

2,347

2,620

9,607

10,229

IOC Total Shipments ('000 tonnes) (d)

 

4,490

4,726

4,650

4,654

4,591

17,235

18,621

Global Iron Ore Totals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Ore Production ('000 tonnes)

 

87,945

82,187

87,936

90,370

90,627

344,606

351,121

Iron Ore Shipments ('000 tonnes)

 

91,269

77,642

91,332

86,753

93,464

344,642

349,190

Iron Ore Sales ('000 tonnes) (e)

 

89,690

77,397

91,361

86,398

92,942

343,063

348,098

 

(a) Includes 100% of production from Paraburdoo, Mt Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline, Marandoo, Yandicoogina, Brockman, Nammuldi, Silvergrass and the Eastern Range mines. Whilst Rio Tinto owns 54% of the Eastern Range mine, under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Hamersley Iron manages the operation and is obliged to purchase all mine production from the joint venture and therefore all of the production is included in Rio Tinto's share of production.

(b) Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Channar mine increased from 60% to 100%, following conclusion of its joint venture with Sinosteel Corporation upon reaching planned 290 million tonnes production on 22 October 2020. Historic data is unchanged.

(c) SP10 include other lower grade products.

(d) Shipments includes material shipped to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards in the same period.

(e) Include Pilbara and IOC sales adjusted for portside trading movements and third party volumes sold.

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data

 

Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2019

Q1
2020

Q2
2020

Q3
2020

Q4
2020

Full Year
2019

Full Year
2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dampier Salt

68.4 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt production ('000 tonnes)

 

2,121 

 

1,527 

 

2,085 

 

1,871 

 

1,628 

 

7,931 

 

7,111 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TITANIUM DIOXIDE SLAG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium

100.0 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canada and South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Rio Tinto share) (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titanium dioxide slag ('000 tonnes)

 

286

293

262

293

272

1206

1120

                                 

 

(a) Quantities comprise 100% of Rio Tinto Fer et Titane and Rio Tinto's 74% interest in Richards Bay Minerals' production. Ilmenite mined in Madagascar is being processed in Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

URANIUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Resources of Australia Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranger mine (a)

86.3 

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Territory, Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U3O8 Production ('000 lbs)

 

939 

 

928 

 

831 

 

851 

 

860 

 

3,860 

 

3,471 

 

                                 

 

(a) ERA production data are drummed U3O8.

On 25 February 2020, Rio Tinto's ownership interest in ERA increased from 68.39% to 86.33%, following completion of its offer to ensure ERA has the funds it needs to meet its current rehabilitation obligations. Production is reported including this change from 1 March 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 30 June 2020. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

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