Delay in driverless train to impact Rio Tinto’s iron ore shipments next year

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Ship being loaded at Rio Tinto Weipa operations with bauxite stockpiles in the background - Copyright © 2014 Rio Tinto

Global mining giant Rio Tinto said while it expected iron ore shipments to remain unchanged this year, 2017 would witness lower production due to a delay in introducing its much-touted driverless trains to carry the ore to ports hundreds of miles away.

It said in a statement Rio Tinto’s expected global shipments in 2016 are unchanged at around 350 million tonnes from its operations in Australia and Canada, subject to weather conditions.

“With the delay in AutoHaul, production from the Pilbara is now expected to be between 330 and 340 million tonnes in 2017 (previously 350 million tonnes), subject to final productivity and capital expenditure plans,” the statement said.

It said global iron ore shipments of 80.8 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 64.9 million tonnes) were 11 per cent higher than in the first quarter of 2015 due to the completion of some brownfield developments and expanded infrastructure capacity in the Pilbara in 2015, but were lower than the prior quarter due to normal seasonal factors.

There were several improvements in aluminium business with bauxite production at 11.1 million tonnes, up six per cent compared with the first quarter of 2015.

Alumina production increased by seven per cent compared with the first quarter of 2015, while aluminium production rose by 10 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015 following the successful completion of the ramp-up at the Kitimat smelter.

Mined copper production was 27 per cent higher than the previous quarter, with higher grades at Kennecott, improved throughput and water availability at Escondida and a share of production from Grasberg, the statement said.

During the quarter, the Group completed the divestment of the Bengalla coal mine and the restructure of the Coal & Allied group and announced the sale of the Mount Pleasant coal project, the statement added.

 

 

 

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