Rio Tinto copper, iron ore output rises though aluminium, titanium slip

07:14 18/01/2019 - Rio Tinto notched higher copper and iron ore production in 2018 though output slipped for aluminium and titanium.

Iron ore output for the year through December rose 2% to 337.8m tonnes, at the top end of the company's guidance range, though it fell by 1% in the fourth quarter on-year.

Rio Tinto forecast iron ore production in 2019 of between 338m and 350m tonnes.

'Following a plant fire at the port of Cape Lambert A on 10 January, Rio Tinto expects limited disruption to Robe Valley lump and fines shipments, which is reflected in the above guidance,' it added.

In other categories, Rio Tinto posted a 33% jump in annual copper output, ahead of its guidance range, primarily reflecting a strong performance at Escondida and increased production from Rio Tinto Kennecott due largely to higher grades.

On the dowside, bauxite, aluminium, titanium oxide and IOC iron ore pellet production fell by 1%, 3%, 15% and 20%, respectively.

Aluminium production was bit by ongoing labour disruptions at the non-managed Becancour smelter in Canada, while Titanium dioxide production was hurt by output disruptions in the second quarter, and intermittent stoppages related to labour disputes.

Rio Tinto said asset disposal proceeds during 2018 amounted to Disposal proceeds received in 2018 were approximately $8.6bn.

'We delivered a solid operational performance in the final quarter of 2018, in particular across our copper assets,' chief executive chief executive J-S Jacques said said.

'During the year, we further strengthened our asset portfolio, continuing to invest in high quality growth.'

'With a firm 'value over volume' focus and disciplined allocation of capital, we will continue to progress our strategic objectives and to deliver superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.'

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