Rio Tinto, one the of world’s biggest miners, said it planned to increase its iron ore production and shipments this year despite a global price collapse after reporting an 11 percent increase in shipment in 2015.
The company said in a statement that it global iron ore shipments in 2015 were around 340 million tonnes, pushed by a strong second half performance following completion of the brownfield developments and expanded infrastructure in the Pilbara that enabled a drawdown on inventories.
It expects to produce 350 million tonnes of iron ore in 2016.
“Against a challenging market backdrop for the industry, Rio Tinto remains focused on operating and commercial excellence to leverage the low-cost position of our Tier 1 asset base, Chief Executive Sam Walsh said, adding that the company met its target across all major products while keeping a close eye on costs.
“We will continue to focus on disciplined management of costs and capital to maximise cash flow generation throughout 2016.” he said.
The statement said continued strong performance in bauxite exceeded full year guidance of 43 million tonnes, with record third party shipments of 26.6 million tonnes.
Aluminium production was in line with 2014, with record annual production at nine smelters offsetting lower production from Kitimat as the modernised and expanded smelter was commissioned.
Mined copper production, it said, was in line with full year guidance of 510 thousand tonnes as de-weighting and de-watering activities at Kennecott resulted in lower production in 2015, which was partly offset by a 36 per cent increase in production at Oyu Tolgoi from higher grades and throughput.
“Production is expected to increase in 2016, with higher production at Kennecott and an expected share of joint venture production at Grasberg.”
Rio Tinto’s share of hard coking and thermal coal production was in line with 2015 guidance, while semi-soft coking coal production was seven per cent above the top end of the guidance range due to mine sequencing, it said, adding that diamonds & minerals continues to optimise production to align with market demand, reflected in a 25 per cent reduction in titanium dioxide slag production compared to 2014, in line with guidance.