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Rio Tinto (RIO)

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Friday 17 January, 2020

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto fourth quarter production results

RNS Number : 0969A
Rio Tinto PLC
17 January 2020
 

 

Rio Tinto releases fourth quarter production results

 

17 January 2020

 

Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said "We finished the year with good momentum, particularly in our Pilbara iron ore operations and in bauxite, despite having experienced some operational challenges in 2019. We are increasing our investment, with $2.25 billion of high-return projects in iron ore and copper approved in the fourth quarter. We also boosted our exploration and evaluation expenditure to $624 million in 2019, further strengthening our pipeline of opportunities.

 

"We have the platform and performance to maintain our delivery of superior returns to shareholders over the short, medium and long-term, driven by our strong value over volume approach and ongoing disciplined allocation of capital."

 



Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Pilbara iron ore shipments (100% basis)

Mt

86.8

-1%

+1%

327.4

-3%

Pilbara iron ore production (100% basis)

Mt

83.6

-3%

-4%

326.7

-3%

Bauxite

Mt

15.1

+28%

+10%

55.1

+9%

Aluminium

kt

783

-4%

-1%

3,171

-2%

Mined copper

kt

138.7

-9%

-12%

577.4

-5%

Titanium dioxide slag

kt

286

-3%

-11%

1,206

+8%

IOC iron ore pellets and concentrate

Mt

2.6

-10%

-13%

10.5

+18%

 

Operational update

Pilbara iron ore shipments of 327 million tonnes (100% basis) were 3% lower than 2018, primarily impacted by weather and operational challenges in the first half of 2019 and our active decision to protect the quality of the Pilbara Blend. In addition to direct sales from Australia, we commenced trials of portside trading in October 2019.

On 27 November 2019, we announced a $749 million investment in the Greater Tom Price operations (Western Turner Syncline Phase 2) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, to sustain production capacity.

Bauxite production of 55 million tonnes was 9% higher than 2018, underpinned by the successful ramp-up of the Amrun mine in Queensland, Australia. Third party shipments of 40 million tonnes were 21% higher than 2018. 

Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes was 2% lower than 2018, primarily reflecting a preventive safety shutdown of one of the three pot-lines at ISAL in Iceland and earlier than planned pot relining at Kitimat in British Columbia, Canada in the second half.

On 23 October 2019, we announced a strategic review of our interest in the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in New Zealand, to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

On 3 December 2019, we announced the approval of a $1.5 billion investment at Kennecott in the US, phase two of the south wall pushback project, extending operations to 2032.

Mined copper production of 577 thousand tonnes was 5% lower than 2018, reflecting lower copper grades, partially offset by higher throughput. Lower copper grades at Kennecott impacted the fourth quarter in particular: this is expected to persist until we access higher grades from the end of 2020, resulting from phase one of the south wall pushback project.

Following the signing of renewable power agreements in Chile, Escondida has raised a provision related to the cancellation of existing coal contracts. We have recognised a charge of approximately $200 million against 2019 underlying EBITDA.

At the Oyu Tolgoi underground project in Mongolia, we completed the primary production shaft (shaft 2) in October. Work continued on the mine design and, overall, we remain within the cost and schedule ranges as announced in July 2019. We continue to expect to complete the mine design in the first half of 2020 and the Definitive Estimate of cost and schedule in the second half of 2020.

Titanium dioxide slag production of 1.2 million tonnes was 8% higher than 2018, reflecting continued operational improvement and the restart of furnaces in line with market conditions. Fourth quarter production was impacted by the curtailment of operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa, following an escalation in violence in the surrounding communities. A phased restart commenced at the end of December.

Production of pellets and concentrate at the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) was 18% higher than 2018, when strike action occurred. Fourth quarter production was 10% lower than the same quarter of 2018 due to unplanned equipment-related downtime.

On 18 November 2019, we announced that we would support Energy Resources of Australia Limited's (ERA) plans for a renounceable entitlement offer to raise $324 million for the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area in Australia's Northern Territory.

Exploration and evaluation spend in 2019 was $624 million, 28% higher than 2018, primarily reflecting increased activity at Resolution Copper in the US and on the Winu and Falcon advanced projects in Australia and Canada. We achieved a major permitting milestone at Resolution with the release of an independently prepared Draft Environmental Impact Statement in August 2019.

In 2019, we repurchased approximately $1.6 billion of Rio Tinto plc shares (28.4 million) on-market.

 

Average realised prices



2019

vs 2018

Pilbara iron ore

$/wmt, FOB

79.0

+37%

Aluminium

$/t (including VAP, mid-west premium)

2,132

-14%

Copper

US cents per lb

274.5

-7%

 

 

2020 production guidance (Rio Tinto share, unless otherwise stated)


2019 actual

2020 guidance

Pilbara iron ore (shipments, 100% basis)

327.4 Mt

330 to 343 Mt

Bauxite

55.1Mt

55 to 58 Mt

Alumina

7.7 Mt

7.8 to 8.2 Mt

Aluminium

3.2 Mt

3.1 to 3.3 Mt

Mined copper

577 kt

530 to 570 kt

Refined copper

260 kt

205 to 235 kt

Diamonds

17 M carats

12 to 14 M carats

Titanium dioxide slag

1.2 Mt

1.2 to 1.4 Mt

IOC pellets and concentrate

10.5 Mt

10.5 to 12.0 Mt

Boric oxide equivalent

0.5 Mt

~0.5 Mt

 

Our guidance is framed by expectations of general stability in global GDP growth in 2020, tempered by negative risks, including geopolitical tensions and oil price volatility. In this environment, we will continue to monitor and adjust production levels and product mix to meet customer requirements in 2020, in line with our value over volume strategy.

Iron ore shipments and bauxite production guidance are subject to weather and market conditions.

Aluminium guidance reflects a continued focus on capacity creep, offset by earlier than planned pot relining at Kitimat.

Mined copper guidance reflects lower grades at Kennecott as mining transitions from the east to south wall. We expect to access higher, more consistent grade ore from late 2020.

Diamonds guidance reflects the expected closure of Argyle in the fourth quarter of 2020 and lower grades at Diavik.

Titanium dioxide slag guidance assumes return to normal operations at RBM in early 2020.

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 2018 is excluded from Rio Tinto share of production data.

 

 

IRON ORE

 

Million tonnes

Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Rio Tinto share of production






Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump1

19.9

-8%

-5%

80.8

-5%

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines1

30.3

-4%

-4%

119.3

-3%

Robe Valley Lump

1.6

+12%

-5%

5.1

-14%

Robe Valley Fines

2.8

+7%

-9%

9.2

-16%

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

14.2

-4%

-3%

56.3

-2%

Total Pilbara production

68.8

-5%

-5%

270.7

-4%

Total Pilbara production (100% basis)

83.6

-3%

-4%

326.7

-3%

 

Million tonnes

Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Rio Tinto share of shipments






Pilbara Blend Lump

16.2

-12%

+1%

65.9

-11%

Pilbara Blend Fines

31.2

-6%

+4%

120.2

-7%

Robe Valley Lump

1.2

+2%

-3%

4.0

-17%

Robe Valley Fines

3.3

+9%

-3%

10.5

-13%

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)

15.3

+3%

+7%

57.1

-1%

SP10 Lump1

2.1

n/a

-23%

5.4

n/a

SP10 Fines1

2.1

+12%

-49%

9.4

+180%

Total Pilbara shipments

71.3

-2%

-1%

272.5

-3%

Total Pilbara shipments (100% basis)

86.8

-1%

+1%

327.4

-3%

Total Pilbara sales (Rio Tinto share)2

70.0

-4%

-2%

271.1

-3%

Total Pilbara sales (100% basis)2

85.5

-2%

-0%

326.0

-4%

Total Pilbara sales (consolidated basis)2, 3

72.2

-3%

-2%

278.6

-3%

1 SP10 includes some lower grade products.

2 Differences between shipments and sales reflect tonnes held for portside trading and material purchased from IOC and sold.

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 326.7 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 270.7 million tonnes) in 2019, 3% lower than 2018. Fourth quarter production of 83.6 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 68.8 million tonnes) was 3% lower than the same quarter of 2018 and 4% lower than the previous quarter due to normal maintenance cycles and mine sequencing. Overall material moved in 2019 was the highest on record. Our increased focus on waste material movement and pit development will continue in 2020 to improve mine performance and pit sequencing.

 

2019 shipments of 327.4 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 272.5 million tonnes) were 3% lower than 2018. In the first half of 2019, shipments were impacted by significant weather disruptions, a fire at the Cape Lambert A port facility and operational challenges. Fourth quarter shipments of 86.8 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 71.3 million tonnes) were 1% below the same quarter of 2018.

 

Performance in the second half of 2019 was strong, with both production and shipments exceeding the same period in 2018 despite the extended rail maintenance shut limiting rail capacity for 12 days. In October 2019 we commenced trials of portside trading. The operation maintains some inventory at Chinese ports and can also handle material from third parties and from IOC. Reported Pilbara sales in the table above therefore reflect the timing differences that may occur between shipments from the Pilbara and sales to external customers.

 

We price the majority of our iron ore sales (76%) by reference to the average index price for the month of shipment. In 2019, we priced approximately 16% of sales by reference to the prior quarter's average index lagged by one month, with the remainder sold either on current quarter average, current month average or on the spot market.

 

In 2019, approximately 22% of sales were made on a cost and freight (CFR) basis, 46% were made on a cost, freight and insurance (CIF) basis and 32% were made on a free on board (FOB) basis.

 

In 2019, we achieved an average iron ore price of $79.0 per wet metric tonne on an FOB basis (equivalent to $85.9 per dry metric tonne, based on an average moisture rate of 8%). In 2018, average pricing was $57.8 per wet metric tonne (equivalent to $62.8 per dry metric tonne).

 

Pilbara projects

The Koodaideri iron ore mine is continuing to progress, with key construction activities on schedule. We commenced work on the major structural foundations in the fourth quarter and expect first ore in late 2021, consistent with previous guidance.

 

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 expected in 2021, consistent with previous guidance. All major environmental approvals have been received with the exception of the Mesa H approval. Procurement and construction activities are progressing, with concrete pouring commencing at West Angelas and Robe Valley civil contractors mobilising to site.

 

On 27 November 2019, we announced the approval of a $749 million (A$1 billion) investment in the Greater Tom Price operations to help sustain production capacity. This investment in the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 mine will facilitate mining of existing and new deposits and includes construction of a new crusher as well as a 13-kilometre conveyor. Pending final government approvals, construction will start in the first quarter of 2020 with first ore from the crusher expected in 2021.

 

 

ALUMINIUM

 

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 tonnes)


Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Bauxite

15,137

+28%

+10%

55,105

+9%

Bauxite third party shipments

10,968

+48%

+6%

39,648

+21%

Alumina

2,032

+1%

+11%

7,744

-3%

Aluminium

783

-4%

-1%

3,171

-2%

 

Bauxite

Bauxite production of 55.1 million tonnes was 9% higher than 2018. In Australia, production at the Pacific managed mines was 11% above prior year underpinned by the successful ramp-up of Amrun, which achieved its design capacity rates in the fourth quarter of 2019, replacing the depleting Weipa mines. Production at the non-managed JVs (CBG in Guinea and MRN in Brazil) was 1% higher than 2018, but was constrained by a slower than planned ramp-up of the expansion project at CBG.

 

Fourth quarter bauxite production was 28% higher than the same period of 2018. Production at the Pacific managed mines was 34% higher than the same period last year, partly offset by lower production at non-managed JVs (CBG and MRN).

 

Third party bauxite shipments were 39.6 million tonnes in 2019, which was 21% higher than 2018 reflecting increased volumes from Amrun. Fourth quarter shipments were 48% higher than the same period in 2018.

 

Alumina

Alumina production of 7.7 million tonnes was 3% lower than 2018, primarily due to major maintenance activities at the Pacific refineries including a planned five-year maintenance shutdown to service the cogeneration plant at Yarwun.

 

Fourth quarter alumina production was 1% higher than the same period of 2018. Our share of production from the Pacific refineries was 17% higher than the third quarter, ramping up after completion of major maintenance activities. Yarwun achieved a production record for the fourth quarter.

 

Aluminium

Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes in 2019 was 2% lower than 2018, primarily due to lower volumes from ISAL from a pot-line outage in the third quarter and at Kitimat, due to earlier than planned pot-lining replacement. Excluding the non-managed Becancour operation where a lock-out constrained operations, the Quebec and Pacific smelters performed well, with aluminium production for 2019 1% higher than 2018, reflecting continued productivity improvement. The restart of Becancour is progressing well, with full ramp-up expected by mid-2020.

 

Fourth quarter aluminium production of 0.8 million tonnes was 4% lower than the same period of 2018. Production at the Quebec and Pacific smelters for the fourth quarter was 1% higher than the same period last year. Following the preventive pot-line shutdown, the ISAL smelter was ramped back up and maintained at about 85% of capacity, optimised for value over volume. Production at the Kitimat smelter continues to be impacted by earlier than planned pot-lining replacement, with actions underway to minimise production impacts. The estimated impact on 2020 production is reflected in our guidance.

 

The aluminium industry continues to face challenging conditions in global markets and policy uncertainty, reflected in low industry profitability. We continue to actively work on enhancing the competitiveness of our smelters, including discussions with stakeholders on energy pricing, to ensure the sustainability and global competitiveness of our Pacific smelters.

 

On 23 October 2019, we announced a strategic review of our interest in the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in New Zealand, to determine the operation's ongoing viability and competitive position. The strategic review will consider all options, including curtailment and closure and is expected be complete in the first quarter of 2020.

 

Average realised aluminium prices were $2,132 per tonne (2018: $2,470 per tonne). This includes premiums for value-added products (VAP), which represented 51% of primary metal sold (2018: 54%, excluding the divested Dunkerque smelter) and generated attractive product premiums averaging $234 per tonne of VAP sold (2018: $227 per tonne) on top of the physical market premiums. The mid-west premium decreased from $419 per tonne in 2018 to $320 per tonne in 2019. A 10% tariff on Canadian aluminium imports into the United States under Section 232 was paid until the tariff was removed on 19 May 2019.

 

Kemano

At the Kemano hydropower facility at Kitimat, British Columbia, tunnel boring continues to progress with 2,731 metres excavated at the end of 2019. Tunnel boring machine productivity has been lower than expected with completion now expected in 2021 (previously late 2020).

 

 

COPPER & DIAMONDS

 

Rio Tinto share of production ('000 tonnes)


Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Mined copper






Rio Tinto Kennecott

35.4

-39%

-39%

186.8

-8%

Escondida

92.3

+16%

+2%

341.6

-3%

Oyu Tolgoi

11.0

-21%

+16%

49.1

-8%







Refined copper






Rio Tinto Kennecott

51.4

-20%

+27%

184.6

-5%

Escondida

20.5

-5%

+22%

75.0

-6%

Diamonds ('000 carats)






Argyle

3,363

+5%

-5%

12,999

-8%

Diavik

840

-22%

-15%

4,031

-8%

 

Rio Tinto Kennecott

Mined copper production was 8% lower than 2018, primarily due to increased grade variability, with grades on average 11% lower. This grade impact was partially offset by a 4% year on year improvement in ore processed. Copper grades of 0.35% achieved in the final quarter of 2019 compare to 0.59% in the same quarter of 2018. Grades will continue to be lower through 2020 before increasing from the first quarter of 2021, with the transition from east wall to south wall mining.

 

Refined copper production was 5% lower than 2018, reflecting reduced copper concentrate availability, a planned smelter shutdown in July and additional unplanned maintenance impacting furnace online time.

 

We continue to toll and purchase third party concentrate to optimise smelter utilisation, with 92 thousand tonnes of concentrate received for processing in 2019, compared with 100 thousand tonnes in 2018. Purchased and tolled copper concentrate are excluded from reported production figures.

 

A 45-day maintenance shut is planned at the smelter during the second quarter of 2020. This is a standard rebuild, which is undertaken approximately every three years.

 

Molybdenum production more than doubled in 2019 (from 5.8kt to 11.2kt), as a result of both higher grades and plant capacity and productivity improvements.

 

On 3 December 2019, we announced the approval of a $1.5 billion investment at Rio Tinto Kennecott, extending operations to 2032. The investment will further extend strip waste rock mining and support additional infrastructure development in the second phase of the south wall pushback project, to allow mining to continue into a new area of the ore body between 2026 and 2032.

 

Escondida

Copper production at Escondida was 3% lower than 2018, mainly due to grade declines, which were 8% lower than last year, partly offset by higher throughput. Fourth quarter production was 16% higher than the same quarter of 2018 due to higher throughput, offsetting production losses from stoppages associated with the social unrest in Chile.

 

Following the signing of renewable power agreements, Escondida has raised a provision related to the cancellation of existing coal contracts. We have recognised a charge of approximately $200 million against 2019 underlying EBITDA.

 

Oyu Tolgoi

As anticipated, mined copper production from the open pit was 8% lower than 2018 as mining activity moved to lower grade areas. Grades were 11% lower for the year and especially reflected in the 21% decline in fourth quarter production, partly offset by productivity improvements.

 

Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project

During the fourth quarter, we took the decision to remove two of the three mid-access drives. We will retain one mid-access drive on the apex level of the mine design of Panel 0. The removal of these mid-access drives has an unfavourable impact on schedule, however, overall, the underground project remains within the range announced in July 2019 of a 16 to 30 month1 delay in schedule and an increase of $1.2 to $1.9 billion1 in development capital costs.

 

We continue the detailed work on mine design, which we still expect to complete in the first half of the year, with a Definitive Estimate in the second half of 2020, as previously disclosed. This will include the estimate of development capital costs and schedule for the underground project based on the updated design of Panel 0.

 

Decisions on other key underground design elements such as the location of the ore handling system and options for panel sequencing will be taken in the first half of 2020. These will take into consideration the consequential impacts on cost, schedule and other key variables such as Ore Reserves, project ramp-up profile and peak production, together with improvements in productivity.

 

These productivity improvements resulted in increased underground lateral development during the fourth quarter, to an average monthly rate of 1,607 equivalent metres (eqm) compared to 1,214 eqm in the third quarter.

 

Completion of shaft 2, a key milestone, occurred in October 2019. Construction is progressing on shafts 3 and 4 to enable commencement of main sinking operations for both shafts during the first half of 2020.

 

Resolution Copper

Deepening of the existing shaft 9 continues, as well as work on the underground characterisation study to increase ore body knowledge.

 

Permitting and studies are progressing well, following the release of the independently prepared Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project in August 2019. A plan is in place with the US Forest Service to address comments received on the study to maintain schedule on the Final Environmental Impact Study in 2020. 

 

In April 2019, we approved $302 million ($166 million our share) of additional expenditure for Resolution, to fund additional drilling, ore-body studies, infrastructure improvements and permitting activities, as we progress the project to the final stage of the permitting phase.

 

Provisional pricing

At 31 December 2019, the Group had an estimated 220 million pounds of copper sales that were provisionally priced at 271 cents per pound. The final price of these sales will be determined during the first half of 2020. This compares with 240 million pounds of open shipments at 31 December 2018, provisionally priced at 277 cents per pound.

 

Diamonds

At Argyle, carat production was 8% lower than 2018 due to lower recovered grade, partially offset by stronger mining and processing rates.

 

At Diavik, carats recovered in 2019 were 8% lower than 2018 due to lower ore availability and grade from the underground operations, partly offset by higher tonnes and grade from the A21 open pit.

 

1 As described above, the level of accuracy of these estimates is preliminary in nature and subject to a range of variables, in line with previous guidance. The confidence level of these estimates is at a level associated with a Conceptual or Order of Magnitude Study, and further work is required between now and the second half of 2020 to refine the mine design options and study them to a level of confidence and accuracy associated with Feasibility Study quality estimates.

 

ENERGY & MINERALS

 

Rio Tinto share of production


Q4 2019

vs Q4 2018

vs Q3 2019

2019

vs 2018

Iron ore pellets and concentrate (million tonnes)






IOC

2.6

-10%

-13%

10.5

+18%







Minerals ('000 tonnes)






Borates - B2O3 content

128

+8%

-7%

520

+2%

Titanium dioxide slag

286

-3%

-11%

1,206

+8%







Uranium ('000 lbs)






Energy Resources of Australia

642

-31%

+10%

2,640

-12%

Rössing

-

-

-

2,114

-

 

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC)

Iron ore pellets and concentrate production available for sale at IOC was 18% higher than 2018 when operations were impacted by a two-month strike. It was 10% lower than the fourth quarter of 2018, attributable to unplanned equipment-related downtime.

 

Borates

Borates production was in line with 2018 and aligned with market conditions. We will base any decision to increase refinery utilisation rates to match market demand.

 

Iron and Titanium

Titanium dioxide feedstock production was 8% higher than 2018, reflecting improved operational performance and the restart of furnaces.

 

Fourth quarter production was impacted by the curtailment of operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa. Operations were impacted in mid-November, following an escalation in violence in the communities surrounding the operations, and a full curtailment commenced at the beginning of December. A phased restart commenced at the end of December. While RBM continues to monitor the security situation closely, a return to full operations and resumption of normalised production is expected in early 2020.

 

All nine furnaces at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) are currently in operation, with three of four furnaces in operation at RBM. This compares with six out of nine furnaces in operation at RTFT and three out of four at RBM in the fourth quarter of 2018. We will base our decision to re-start the remaining idled furnace to match market demand.

 

Zulti South project

Construction of the $463 million Zulti South project at RBM remains on hold post a suspension of operations following a number of security incidents that impacted operations. We will review the restart of the Zulti South project after normalisation of operations at RBM.

 

Uranium

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) continues to process existing stockpiles. Production was 12% lower than 2018, reflecting lower grades.

 

On 18 November 2019, we announced that we would support ERA's plans for a renounceable entitlement offer to raise $324 million for the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area in Australia's Northern Territory.

 

As announced by the Takeovers Panel on 12 December 2019, we have applied to the Takeovers Panel for a review of its decision of 11 December 2019, relating to ERA's renounceable entitlement offer.  We remain committed to fully subscribe for our entitlement and to underwrite the entitlement offer in the absence of any other commercially viable solution being available to ERA for the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area.

 

Production from Rössing Uranium is reported up to the date of completion of divestment on 16 July 2019.

 

 

EXPLORATION AND EVALUATION

 

Pre-tax and pre-divestment expenditure on exploration and evaluation charged to the profit and loss account in 2019 was $624 million, compared with $488 million in 2018, with increased spend at Resolution Copper in the US and on the Winu and Falcon Order of Magnitude studies in Australia and Canada. Approximately 52% of this expenditure was incurred by central exploration, 33% by Copper & Diamonds, 9% by Energy & Minerals and the remainder by Iron Ore and Aluminium.

 

There were no significant divestments of central exploration properties in 2019.

 

Exploration highlights

We have a strong portfolio of projects with activity in 17 countries across some seven commodities. The bulk of the exploration expenditure in this quarter was focused on copper in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Peru, Serbia, United States, Zambia and diamonds projects in Canada. Mine-lease exploration continued at a number of our managed businesses including Pilbara Iron in Australia, Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, Diavik in Canada, and Resolution and Boron in the US. A summary of activity for the quarter is as follows:

Commodities

Studies Stage

Advanced

projects

Greenfield/Brownfield

programmes

Cape York, Australia

Amargosa, Brazil*; Sanxai, Laos*

Cape York, Australia

Base Metals

Copper/molybdenum: Resolution, US; Winu, Australia

La Granja, Peru

Nickel: Tamarack, US (third party operated)

Copper Greenfield: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Peru, Serbia, US, Zambia

Copper Brownfield: Resolution, US; Bingham, US; Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia

Nickel Greenfield: Canada, Uganda, Finland

Diamonds

Falcon, Canada


Greenfield: Canada

Brownfield: Diavik, Canada

Lithium borates: Jadar, Serbia

Heavy mineral sands: Mutamba, Mozambique (third party operated)


Heavy mineral sands: Tanzania

Industrial Minerals: Serbia

Industrial minerals brownfield: Boron

Iron Ore

Pilbara, Australia

Pilbara, Australia

Brownfield: Pilbara, Australia

 

* Limited activity during the quarter

 

Forward-looking statements

 

This announcement may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the US 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 production forecast or guidance, financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto's products and reserve and resource positions), are forward-looking statements. The words "intend", "aim", "project", "anticipate", "estimate", "plan", "believes", "expects", "may", "should", "will", "target", "set to", "assumes" 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 production, performance or results of Rio Tinto to be materially different from any future production, performance or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements could be influenced by such risk factors as 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. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. 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 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

 

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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

 

 

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



2018
Q4

2019
Q3

2019
Q4


2018
 

2019
 


Q4 19
vs
Q4 18

Q4 19
vs
Q3 19

  2019
vs
  2018

Principal Commodities











Alumina

('000 t)

2,020

1,826

2,032


7,980

7,744


1%

11%

-3%

Aluminium

('000 t)

817

789

783


3,231

3,171


-4%

-1%

-2%

Bauxite

('000 t)

11,790

13,796

15,137


50,421

55,105


28%

10%

9%

Borates

('000 t)

118

138

128


512

520


8%

-7%

2%

Copper - mined

('000 t)

151.9

157.9

138.7


607.6

577.4


-9%

-12%

-5%

Copper - refined

('000 t)

86.1

57.1

71.9


274.8

259.6


-17%

26%

-6%

Diamonds

('000 cts)

4,290

4,551

4,203


18,427

17,030


-2%

-8%

-8%

Iron Ore

('000 t)

75,018

75,117

71,352


290,800

281,192


-5%

-5%

-3%

Titanium dioxide slag

('000 t)

294

321

286


1,116

1,206


-3%

-11%

8%

Uranium

('000 lbs)

1,904

755

642


6,764

4,754


-66%

-15%

-30%

Other Metals & Minerals











Gold - mined

('000 oz)

118.4

87.8

75.0


372.1

389.7


-37%

-15%

5%

Gold - refined

('000 oz)

58.6

60.8

63.3


198.0

218.7


8%

4%

10%

Molybdenum

('000 t)

2.2

2.1

4.7


5.8

11.2


110%

119%

95%

Salt

('000 t)

1,496

1,392

1,450


6,153

5,422


-3%

4%

-12%

Silver - mined

('000 oz)

1,586

1,320

1,209


5,656

5,412


-24%

-8%

-4%

Silver - refined

('000 oz)

807

664

839


2,865

2,853


4%

26%

0%













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
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










ALUMINA









Production ('000 tonnes)









Jonquière (Vaudreuil)

100%

354

373

336

360

345

1,444

1,413

Jonquière (Vaudreuil) specialty Alumina plant

100%

29

25

31

28

24

124

109

Queensland Alumina

80%

742

711

668

669

716

2,958

2,763

São Luis (Alumar)

10%

92

86

86

99

97

351

368

Yarwun

100%

803

813

757

671

850

3,103

3,091

Rio Tinto total alumina production


2,020

2,008

1,878

1,826

2,032

7,980

7,744










ALUMINIUM









Production ('000 tonnes)









Australia - Bell Bay

100%

48

45

47

48

48

189

189

Australia - Boyne Island

59%

74

73

75

75

74

295

296

Australia - Tomago

52%

77

74

76

77

76

305

303

Canada - six wholly owned

100%

408

400

400

399

383

1,616

1,582

Canada - Alouette (Sept-Îles)

40%

58

58

60

61

62

234

241

Canada - Bécancour

25%

8

4

4

4

7

34

19

Iceland - ISAL (Reykjavik)

100%

54

52

52

36

43

212

184

New Zealand - Tiwai Point

79%

70

71

69

70

69

270

279

Oman - Sohar

20%

20

19

19

20

20

76

78

Rio Tinto total aluminium production


817

796

803

789

783

3,231

3,171











BAUXITE









Production ('000 tonnes) (a)









Gove

100%

3,250

3,004

2,957

2,968

3,273

12,540

12,201

Porto Trombetas

12%

489

285

287

385

371

1,576

1,327

Sangaredi

   (b)

1,204

1,558

1,630

1,749

1,227

5,868

6,165

Weipa

100%

6,847

7,917

8,533

8,695

10,267

30,437

35,411

Rio Tinto total bauxite production

11,790

12,763

13,407

13,796

15,137

50,421

55,105

(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
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










BORATES









Production ('000 tonnes B2O3 content)









Rio Tinto Borates - borates

100%

118

115

138

138

128

512

520










COPPER









Mine production ('000 tonnes) (a)









Bingham Canyon

100%

58.3

52.5

41.1

57.8

35.4

203.9

186.8

Escondida

30%

79.7

76.0

82.7

90.5

92.3

350.4

341.6

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34%

13.9

15.4

13.1

9.5

11.0

53.3

49.1

Rio Tinto total mine production


151.9

143.9

136.9

157.9

138.7

607.6

577.4

Refined production ('000 tonnes)








Escondida

30%

21.6

18.7

19.0

16.8

20.5

80.0

75.0

Rio Tinto Kennecott

100%

64.6

29.6

63.3

40.3

51.4

194.7

184.6

Rio Tinto total refined production

86.1

48.3

82.3

57.1

71.9

274.8

259.6

(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%

3,211

2,786

3,292

3,558

3,363

14,069

12,999

Diavik

60%

1,078

1,010

1,188

994

840

4,358

4,031

Rio Tinto total diamond production


4,290

3,796

4,481

4,551

4,203

18,427

17,030










GOLD









Mine production ('000 ounces) (a)









Bingham Canyon

100%

57.1

53.0

65.1

64.6

52.0

196.7

234.7

Escondida

30%

22.1

22.2

22.4

14.6

14.8

79.7

74.0

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34%

39.1

40.2

24.1

8.6

8.2

95.7

81.1

Rio Tinto total mine production


118.4

115.4

111.6

87.8

75.0

372.1

389.7

Refined production ('000 ounces)








Rio Tinto Kennecott

100%

58.6

41.7

52.9

60.8

63.3

198.0

218.7

(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
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










IRON ORE









Production ('000 tonnes) (a)








Hamersley mines

   (b)

56,364

51,218

50,087

55,567

52,521

220,612

209,392

Hamersley - Channar

60%

1,337

931

1,451

947

1,452

4,304

4,782

Hope Downs

50%

5,845

5,957

6,051

6,077

6,047

22,684

24,132

Iron Ore Company of Canada

59%

2,836

2,481

2,532

2,960

2,564

8,952

10,536

Robe River - Pannawonica (Mesas J and A)

53%

4,004

1,870

3,329

4,725

4,360

16,932

14,284

Robe River - West Angelas

53%

4,631

4,125

4,692

4,840

4,409

17,316

18,066

Rio Tinto iron ore production ('000 tonnes)


75,018

66,581

68,141

75,117

71,352

290,800

281,192

Breakdown of Production:









Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump (c)


21,674

19,978

19,842

21,015

19,930

84,843

80,766

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines (c)


31,652

28,779

28,463

31,713

30,304

122,582

119,260

Robe Valley Lump


1,409

635

1,201

1,650

1,574

5,897

5,060

Robe Valley Fines


2,595

1,235

2,128

3,075

2,786

11,035

9,224

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,852

13,473

13,975

14,704

14,194

57,491

56,346

Pilbara iron ore production ('000 tonnes)


72,182

64,101

65,610

72,156

68,788

281,848

270,655

IOC Concentrate


1,433

890

1,193

1,400

1,146

3,934

4,629

IOC Pellets


1,403

1,590

1,339

1,560

1,418

5,018

5,908

IOC iron ore production ('000 tonnes)


2,836

2,481

2,532

2,960

2,564

8,952

10,536

Breakdown of Shipments:









Pilbara Blend Lump (d)


18,439

15,772

18,009

15,948

16,176

73,892

65,906

Pilbara Blend Fines (d)


33,342

26,864

32,165

30,032

31,182

129,177

120,243

Robe Valley Lump


1,219

457

1,037

1,290

1,246

4,881

4,030

Robe Valley Fines


2,996

1,308

2,577

3,349

3,259

12,085

10,493

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,831

12,294

15,212

14,286

15,260

57,380

57,052

SP10 Lump (c)


0

0

635

2,685

2,072

0

5,391

SP10 Fines (c)


1,863

1,542

1,747

4,057

2,081

3,364

9,427

Pilbara iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes)


72,690

58,236

71,382

71,646

71,277

280,778

272,540

IOC Iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes)


3,073

2,092

2,738

2,654

2,636

8,837

10,120

Rio Tinto iron ore shipments ('000 tonnes)

75,763

60,328

74,119

74,300

73,913

289,614

282,660

Breakdown of Sales:









Pilbara Blend Lump (d)


18,439

15,772

18,009

15,948

16,176

73,892

65,906

Pilbara Blend Fines (d)


33,342

26,864

32,165

30,032

31,182

129,177

120,243

Robe Valley Lump


1,219

457

1,037

1,290

1,246

4,881

4,030

Robe Valley Fines


2,996

1,308

2,577

3,349

3,259

12,085

10,493

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,831

12,294

15,212

14,286

15,260

57,380

57,052

SP10 Lump (c)


0

0

635

2,611

1,733

0

4,979

SP10 Fines (c)


1,863

1,542

1,747

3,962

1,185

3,364

8,437

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


72,690

58,236

71,382

71,478

70,043

280,778

271,139

Pilbara iron ore sales - consolidated basis ('000 tonnes) (e) (f)

74,711

59,541

73,230

73,619

72,166

288,610

278,557

IOC Concentrate


1,558

516

1,315

1,425

1,223

3,887

4,479

IOC Pellets


1,516

1,576

1,423

1,229

1,413

4,950

5,641

IOC Iron ore sales ('000 tonnes)


3,073

2,092

2,738

2,654

2,636

8,837

10,120

(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, 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) SP10 includes some lower grade products. SP10 fines sales also include IOC product that is further blended and sold at port in China.
(d) Restatement due to separately reporting SP10 lump and SP10 fines products that include other lower grade products.
(e) Differences between shipments and sales reflect tonnes held for portside trading and material purchased from IOC and sold.
(f) 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
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










MOLYBDENUM









Mine production ('000 tonnes) (a)








Bingham Canyon

100%

2.2

1.9

2.6

2.1

4.7

5.8

11.2

(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%

1,496

1,310

1,269

1,392

1,450

6,153

5,422










SILVER









Mine production ('000 ounces) (a)








Bingham Canyon

100%

736

741

700

768

605

2,520

2,815

Escondida

30%

771

657

622

488

539

2,830

2,306

Oyu Tolgoi (b)

34%

80

83

80

64

64

306

290

Rio Tinto total mine production


1,586

1,481

1,403

1,320

1,209

5,656

5,412

Refined production ('000 ounces)








Rio Tinto Kennecott

100%

807

617

734

664

839

2,865

2,853

(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%

294

296

303

321

286

1,116

1,206

(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

68%

924

793

620

585

642

3,014

2,640

Rössing (b)

0%

979

802

1,142

170

         -

3,750

2,114

Rio Tinto total uranium production

1,904

1,595

1,762

755

642

6,764

4,754

(a) ERA and Rössing production reported are drummed U3O8.
(b) On 16 July 2019, Rio Tinto completed the sale of its entire 68.62% interest in the Rössing mine in Namibia to China National Uranium Corporation Limited. Production is reported up to the date of completion.










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 2019.










Rio Tinto's interest in the Kestrel, Hail Creek, Dunkerque and Grasberg operations were sold in 2018. No data for these operations are included in the Share of production table.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










ALUMINA









Smelter Grade Alumina - Aluminium Group








Alumina production ('000 tonnes)









Australia









Queensland Alumina Refinery - Queensland

80.0%

927

888

834

836

895

3,697

3,454

Yarwun refinery - Queensland

100.0%

803

813

757

671

850

3,103

3,091

Brazil









São Luis (Alumar) refinery

10.0%

918

859

864

989

966

3,509

3,679

Canada









Jonquière (Vaudreuil) refinery - Quebec (a)

100.0%

354

373

336

360

345

1,444

1,413

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

Specialty Alumina - Aluminium Group








Specialty alumina production ('000 tonnes)








Canada









Jonquière (Vaudreuil) plant - Quebec

100.0%

29

25

31

28

24

124

109

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










ALUMINIUM









Primary Aluminium









Primary aluminium production ('000 tonnes)








Australia









Bell Bay smelter - Tasmania

100.0%

48

45

47

48

48

189

189

Boyne Island smelter - Queensland

59.4%

125

122

126

125

125

497

499

Tomago smelter - New South Wales

51.6%

149

144

147

149

148

592

588

Canada









Alma smelter - Quebec

100.0%

118

115

118

119

119

465

472

Alouette (Sept-Îles) smelter - Quebec

40.0%

146

144

150

153

155

584

602

Arvida smelter - Quebec

100.0%

44

43

44

45

44

173

175

Arvida AP60 smelter - Quebec

100.0%

13

14

15

15

15

52

60

Bécancour smelter - Quebec

25.1%

30

17

16

16

28

136

77

Grande-Baie smelter - Quebec

100.0%

59

58

58

59

59

233

233

Kitimat smelter - British Columbia

100.0%

109

106

102

96

81

436

385

Laterrière smelter - Quebec

100.0%

65

64

64

65

65

257

257

France









Dunkerque smelter (a)

0.0%

57

-

-

-

-

227

-

Iceland









ISAL (Reykjavik) smelter

100.0%

54

52

52

36

43

212

184

New Zealand









Tiwai Point smelter

79.4%

88

89

87

88

87

341

351

Oman









Sohar smelter

20.0%

99

97

97

98

98

380

391

(a) On 14 December 2018, Rio Tinto completed the sale of its 100% interest in the Dunkerque smelter. Production is reported up to the date of completion.

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










BAUXITE









Bauxite production ('000 tonnes)









Australia









Gove mine - Northern Territory

100.0%

3,250

3,004

2,957

2,968

3,273

12,540

12,201

Weipa mine - Queensland

100.0%

6,847

7,917

8,533

8,695

10,267

30,437

35,411

Brazil









Porto Trombetas (MRN) mine

12.0%

4,073

2,372

2,393

3,205

3,090

13,134

11,060

Guinea









Sangaredi mine (a)

23.0%

2,675

3,463

3,623

3,887

2,727

13,039

13,701










Rio Tinto share of bauxite shipments








Share of total bauxite shipments ('000 tonnes)

11,622

12,725

13,122

13,912

14,849

49,536

54,607

Share of third party bauxite shipments ('000 tonnes)

7,387

8,842

9,477

10,361

10,968

32,813

39,648










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










BORATES









Rio Tinto Borates - borates

100.0%








US









Borates ('000 tonnes) (a)


118

115

138

138

128

512

520

(a) Production is expressed as B2O3 content.










Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










COPPER & GOLD









Escondida

30.0%








Chile









Sulphide ore to concentrator ('000 tonnes)

30,507

32,027

32,519

33,956

33,659

124,956

132,161

Average copper grade (%)


0.87

0.82

0.86

0.86

0.87

0.93

0.85

Mill production (metals in concentrates):









Contained copper ('000 tonnes)


219.9

216.9

230.9

245.0

246.1

968.0

938.9

Contained gold ('000 ounces)


74

74

75

49

49

266

247

Contained silver ('000 ounces)


2,570

2,189

2,074

1,626

1,798

9,433

7,687

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

45.7

36.5

44.7

56.8

61.7

199.9

199.7

Refined production from leach plants:









Copper cathode production ('000 tonnes)


71.9

62.4

63.5

55.9

68.4

266.8

250.2

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

Freeport-McMoRan









Grasberg mine (a)

0.0% (b)








Papua, Indonesia









Ore treated ('000 tonnes)


14,049

-

-

-

-

64,310

-

Average mill head grades:









Copper (%)


0.73

-

-

-

-

0.99

-

Gold (g/t)


1.08

-

-

-

-

1.59

-

Silver (g/t)


2.09

-

-

-

-

4.17

-

Production of metals in concentrates:









Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)


85.4

-

-

-

-

569.7

-

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)


402

-

-

-

-

2,779

-

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)


545

-

-

-

-

5,045

-

Sales of payable metals in concentrates: (c)








Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)


82.7

-

-

-

-

556.0

-

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)


399

-

-

-

-

2,719

-

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)


426

-

-

-

-

3,928

-

(a) Through a joint venture agreement with Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Rio Tinto is entitled to 40% of additional material mined as a consequence of expansions and developments of the Grasberg facilities since 1998. The Q4 2018 results show the forecast from FCX's most recent five-year plan. On 21 December 2018, Rio Tinto completed the sale of its entire interest in the Grasberg mine in Indonesia to PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Persero) (Inalum). Production is reported up to the date of completion. 
(b) Rio Tinto share of Grasberg production is 40% of the expansion. 
(c) Net of smelter deduction

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










COPPER & GOLD (continued)









Rio Tinto Kennecott









Bingham Canyon mine

100.0%








Utah, US









Ore treated ('000 tonnes)


10,853

10,685

10,123

10,084

11,141

40,260

42,033

Average ore grade:









Copper (%)


0.59

0.55

0.46

0.64

0.36

0.56

0.50

Gold (g/t)


0.26

0.25

0.33

0.30

0.23

0.25

0.28

Silver (g/t)


2.76

2.76

2.84

2.74

2.09

2.60

2.60

Molybdenum (%)


0.032

0.032

0.039

0.039

0.061

0.028

0.043

Copper concentrates produced ('000 tonnes)

222

207

161

207

156

820

731

Average concentrate grade (% Cu)


26.0

25.3

25.5

27.8

22.6

24.8

25.5

Production of metals in copper concentrates:








Copper ('000 tonnes) (a)


58.3

52.5

41.1

57.8

35.4

203.9

186.8

Gold ('000 ounces)


57

53

65

65

52

197

235

Silver ('000 ounces)


736

741

700

768

605

2,520

2,815

Molybdenum concentrates produced ('000 tonnes):

4.5

3.8

5.0

4.3

9.4

11.6

22.4

Molybdenum in concentrates ('000 tonnes)


2.2

1.9

2.6

2.1

4.7

5.8

11.2


Kennecott smelter & refinery

100.0%








Copper concentrates smelted ('000 tonnes)

262

204

207

160

216

932

787

Copper anodes produced ('000 tonnes) (b)

62.4

33.3

60.3

39.3

53.7

207.3

186.6

Production of refined metal:









Copper ('000 tonnes)


64.6

29.6

63.3

40.3

51.4

194.7

184.6

Gold ('000 ounces) (c)


58.6

41.7

52.9

60.8

63.3

198.0

218.7

Silver ('000 ounces) (c)


807

617

734

664

839

2,865

2,853

(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 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










COPPER & GOLD (continued)









Turquoise Hill Resources









Oyu Tolgoi mine (a)

33.5%








Mongolia









Ore Treated ('000 tonnes)


9,361

9,255

10,394

10,040

11,088

38,738

40,777

Average mill head grades:









Copper (%)


0.55

0.57

0.46

0.37

0.42

0.51

0.45

Gold (g/t)


0.56

0.58

0.31

0.14

0.15

0.36

0.29

Silver (g/t)


1.22

1.25

1.20

1.03

1.06

1.22

1.13

Copper concentrates produced ('000 tonnes)

189.0

210.1

180.6

131.3

152.6

724.9

674.6

Average concentrate grade (% Cu)


21.9

21.8

21.7

21.7

21.6

21.9

21.7

Production of metals in concentrates:









Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)


41.5

45.8

39.2

28.4

32.9

159.1

146.3

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)


116.7

120.1

71.8

25.6

24.3

285.4

241.8

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)


238

247

239

191

190

914

867

Sales of metals in concentrates:









Copper in concentrates ('000 tonnes)


40.2

38.5

46.6

32.5

32.3

156.7

149.9

Gold in concentrates ('000 ounces)


111

98

116

35

25

248

274

Silver in concentrates ('000 ounces)


216

200

245

207

244

873

896

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










DIAMONDS









Argyle Diamonds

100.0%








Western Australia









AK1 ore processed ('000 tonnes)


1,292

1,248

1,427

1,716

1,977

5,444

6,367

AK1 diamonds produced ('000 carats)


3,211

2,786

3,292

3,558

3,363

14,069

12,999

Diavik Diamonds

60.0%








Northwest Territories, Canada









Ore processed ('000 tonnes)


651

620

671

628

516

2,530

2,435

Diamonds recovered ('000 carats)


1,797

1,683

1,980

1,656

1,400

7,264

6,719


Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data











Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019










IRON ORE









Rio Tinto Iron Ore









Western Australia









Pilbara Operations









Saleable iron ore production ('000 tonnes)








Hamersley mines

   (a)

56,364

51,218

50,087

55,567

52,521

220,612

209,392

Hamersley - Channar

60.0%

2,228

1,552

2,419

1,579

2,420

7,173

7,970

Hope Downs

50.0%

11,691

11,913

12,101

12,155

12,095

45,368

48,264

Robe River - Pannawonica (Mesas J and A)

53.0%

7,555

3,529

6,282

8,914

8,225

31,947

26,951

Robe River - West Angelas

53.0%

8,738

7,783

8,853

9,133

8,318

32,672

34,086

Total production ('000 tonnes)


86,576

75,995

79,741

87,347

83,579

337,772

326,663

Breakdown of total production:









Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump (b)


26,084

24,068

24,291

25,434

24,326

101,629

98,119

Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines (b)


38,085

34,924

35,194

38,296

36,833

146,705

145,247

Robe Valley Lump


2,659

1,198

2,266

3,113

2,969

11,126

9,547

Robe Valley Fines


4,896

2,331

4,015

5,802

5,256

20,821

17,404

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,852

13,473

13,975

14,704

14,194

57,491

56,346

Breakdown of total shipments:









Pilbara Blend Lump (c)


22,161

18,968

21,653

19,329

19,680

88,215

79,630

Pilbara Blend Fines (c)


40,633

33,016

39,358

36,947

39,186

157,191

148,508

Robe Valley Lump


2,301

863

1,957

2,433

2,350

9,209

7,603

Robe Valley Fines


5,652

2,468

4,862

6,318

6,149

22,801

19,797

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,831

12,294

15,212

14,286

15,260

57,380

57,052

SP10 Lump (b)


0

0

635

2,685

2,072

0

5,391

SP10 Fines (b)


1,863

1,542

1,747

4,057

2,081

3,364

9,427

Total shipments ('000 tonnes) (d)


87,442

69,150

85,423

86,055

86,779

338,160

327,408

Breakdown of total sales:









Pilbara Blend Lump (c)


22,161

18,968

21,653

19,329

19,680

88,215

79,630

Pilbara Blend Fines (c)


40,633

33,016

39,358

36,947

39,186

157,191

148,508

Robe Valley Lump


2,301

863

1,957

2,433

2,350

9,209

7,603

Robe Valley Fines


5,652

2,468

4,862

6,318

6,149

22,801

19,797

Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)


14,831

12,294

15,212

14,286

15,260

57,380

57,052

SP10 Lump (b)


0

0

635

2,611

1,733

0

4,979

SP10 Fines (b)


1,863

1,542

1,747

3,962

1,185

3,364

8,437

Total sales ('000 tonnes)


87,442

69,150

85,423

85,888

85,545

338,160

326,006

(a) Includes 100% of production from Paraburdoo, Mt Tom Price, 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) SP10 includes some lower grade products. SP10 fines sales also include IOC product that is further blended and sold at port in China.
(c) Restatement due to separately reporting SP10 lump and SP10 fines products that include other lower grade products.
(d) Shipments represent iron ore exported from Western Australian ports: a portion of this material is shipped for portside trading to be further blended and subsequently sold.

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Rio Tinto operational data


















Rio Tinto
interest

Q4
2018

Q1
2019

Q2
2019

Q3
2019

Q4
2019

Full Year
2018

Full Year
2019

IRON ORE (continued)









Iron Ore Company of Canada

58.7%








Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec in Canada








Saleable iron ore production:









Concentrates ('000 tonnes)


2,441

1,516

2,031

2,384

1,951

6,700

7,883

Pellets ('000 tonnes)


2,389

2,709

2,280

2,657

2,415

8,545

10,061

IOC Total production ('000 tonnes)


4,830

4,225

4,311

5,041

4,366

15,245

17,943

Shipments:









Concentrates ('000 tonnes)


2,653

878

2,239

2,427

2,083

6,619

7,628

Pellets ('000 tonnes)


2,581

2,684

2,424

2,093

2,406

8,430

9,607

IOC Total Shipments ('000 tonnes)


5,234

3,562

4,663

4,520

4,490

15,049

17,235

IOC Total Sales ('000 tonnes)


5,234

3,562

4,663

4,520

4,490

15,049

17,235

Global Iron Ore Totals









Iron Ore Production ('000 tonnes)


91,406

80,219

84,052

92,389

87,945

353,017

344,606

Iron Ore Shipments ('000 tonnes)


92,676

72,712

90,085

90,576

91,269

353,209











SALT









Dampier Salt

68.4%








Western Australia









Salt production ('000 tonnes)


2,188

1,917

1,856

2,036

2,121

9,001

7,931










TITANIUM DIOXIDE SLAG









Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium

100.0%








Canada and South Africa









(Rio Tinto share) (a)









Titanium dioxide slag ('000 tonnes)


294

296

303

321

286

1,116

1,206










(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)

68.4%








Northern Territory, Australia









U3O8 Production ('000 lbs)


1,351

1,160

906

855

939

4,407

3,860

(a) ERA production data are drummed U3O8.




Rössing Uranium Ltd (a) (b)

0.0%








Namibia









U3O8 Production ('000 lbs)


1,427

1,168

1,665

247

-

5,465

3,080

(a) Rössing production data are drummed U3O8.
(b) On 16 July 2019, Rio Tinto completed the sale of its entire 68.62% interest in the Rössing mine in Namibia to China National Uranium Corporation Limited. Production is reported up to the date of completion.

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2019. The data represent full production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

 


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