Rio Tinto Records Slight Lift in Annual Australian Iron-Ore Shipments
By Rhiannon Hoyle
SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC Tuesday reported a 1% lift in annual
shipments of iron ore from its Australian mining hub and forecast a
wide range for 2021 exports around a similar level as it deals with
uncertainties tied to the pandemic and a review of heritage
The Anglo-Australian mining company, which runs one of the
world's biggest iron-ore export operations, said it shipped 330.6
million metric tons of the commodity from its mines in Australia's
remote Pilbara region in the year through December. Rio Tinto had
earlier projected annual shipments of between 324 million and 334
Production was up 2% at 333.4 million tons, despite weather
disruptions and strict measures to manage operations through the
coronavirus pandemic, the company said.
Rio Tinto said it expects to ship between 325 million and 340
million tons of iron ore from Australia in 2021.
Rio Tinto said it continues to face uncertainty over how the
pandemic will impact projects in its iron-ore business. The future
impact from an ongoing review of cultural heritage laws in Western
Australia is also unknown, Rio Tinto said.
The miner, which records wide margins on its iron-ore sales and
relies on the market for the bulk of its earnings, is benefiting
from a boom in prices for the commodity. Iron ore is trading near a
nine-year high because of strong demand from Chinese steelmakers.
Iron ore, the main ingredient in steel, is one of the world's
most-traded commodities and was among the best performing assets of
In addition to its Australian iron-ore mines, Rio Tinto owns a
majority stake in Iron Ore Company of Canada, for which it recorded
a 1% drop in full-year output to 10.4 million tons.
The company Tuesday also recorded a 9% fall in annual mined
copper output, to 527,900 tons, in big part because it was digging
up ore at its Kennecott mine in Utah with a lower metal content.
Rio Tinto targeted the lower grade material as it worked through an
extended shutdown of its smelter, which took longer than
anticipated to restart following planned maintenance.
The company had earlier projected annual mined copper output of
475,000 to 520,000 tons. It said it expects to produce between
500,000 and 550,000 tons in 2021.
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 18, 2021 17:11 ET (22:11 GMT)
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