Rio Tinto books iron ore boost

14th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Mining giant Rio Tinto on Thursday reported a boost in quarterly global iron ore output but said coal shipments were down 26 percent due to wild weather in Australia's northeast.

Rio said its operations had "largely recovered" from the summer's floods and cyclones, with its key iron ore production up 12 percent in the second quarter from the same period last year at 49 million tonnes.

Shipments were at 110 million tonnes for the half, "six million tonnes lower than 2010 first half following several cyclones, widespread flooding and a subsequent train derailment in the first quarter of 2011," Rio said.

Its flagship Pilbara iron ore operations "recovered strongly" in the quarter, with production just three percent shy of its record fourth quarter of 2010.

Steelmaking coal was rebounding more slowly from the adverse weather, nine percent higher than the previous three months but 26 percent lower than the second quarter of 2010, it said.

Thermal coal used to generate power was up five percent on-year and 18 percent higher than the previous quarter.

"This quarter was also characterised by continued strong prices for most of our metals and minerals, but with worsening adverse exchange rates and some input cost pressures," said Rio chief Tom Albanese.

Rio said iron ore output would rise about three percent this year, in line with guidance it gave in mid-March, but trimmed its forecast for steelmaking coal from 9.3 million tonnes last quarter to 8 million tonnes.

© 2011 AFP

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