Rio Tinto has released the results of its first quarter production performances, which showed that the company is operating within its projected targets across all segments.
The company said that it has shipped 72.5 million tonnes of iron ore globally – 9% more than in the first quarter of 2014 – with production of the commodity hitting the 74.7 million tonne mark, a 12% increase year on year.
Rio posted a record first quarter bauxite production – 4% higher than the first quarter of 2014 – which the company attributed to the strong performance at Weipa.
Aluminium production in the first quarter was in line with the same period of 2014, despite the partial shutdown at Kitimat, which continues to prepare for first hot metal at the modernised smelter by mid-2015.
Mined copper production was 12% higher than the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by higher throughput at Kennecott and Escondida, but 9% lower compared with the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the lower grades at Kennecott.
In its coal segment, Rio achieved higher first quarter production primarily due to improved production rates at Kestrel South following the longwall ramp-up, increased semi-soft production at Mount Thorley and Warkworth and higher thermal production at Hail Creek.
The company said that titanium dioxide production was the only segment that posted a lower result than the corresponding period in 2014, with a 17% decline in production as it continues to be optimised to align with market demand.
“We continue to drive efficiency in all aspects of our business, which is reflected in our solid production performance during the first quarter,” said Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh.
“By making best use of our high quality assets, low cost base and operating and commercial capability our aim is to protect our margins in the face of declining prices and maximise returns for shareholders throughout the cycle.”