Mining giant Rio Tinto cuts iron ore target

16th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Thursday cut its full-year guidance for iron ore shipments after poor weather hit its operations in the first half of the year.

The mining giant said it now expects to ship around 340 million tonnes during the 2015 calendar year after unseasonal weather, including two cyclones, in Western Australia reduced capacity at its Pilbara operations by seven million tonnes.

It had previously forecast annual shipments of around 350 million tonnes.

"Due to the weather disruption in the first half of the year, anticipated shipments were reduced by around seven million tonnes," Rio said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

"Accordingly, Rio Tinto now expects 2015 global shipments of 340 million tonnes from its operations in Australia and Canada."

Despite the downgrade in its annual target, Rio produced 79.7 million tonnes of iron ore in the June quarter, up 12 percent from the previous three months.

Shipments of 81.4 million tonnes were up 12 percent over the same period, but not as much as anticipated.

Australia is one of the world's biggest suppliers of iron ore, which is key to making steel, and China is its largest customer.

Miners have faced a see-sawing week with the price of the commodity falling 10 percent last Thursday before spiking 10 percent the next day. It is now tracking around the US$50.00 a tonne mark.

The iron ore price had already been declining in recent months, exacerbated by the world's four biggest iron ore exporters -- Rio, BHP Billiton, Vale and Fortescue -- lifting their production levels to maintain their share of exports.

Elsewhere, Rio said hard coking coal production was up five percent to 2.1 million tonnes in the quarter from the previous three months, while semi-soft coking and thermal coal production was down 10 percent to 5.1 million tonnes.

Bauxite production rose two percent to almost 10.7 million tonnes, while copper production dropped seven percent to 134 thousand tonnes due to lower production from its Kennecott mine in Utah.

© 2015 AFP

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