Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has cut its iron ore production estimate due to operational failures. From its Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) business, the company expects iron ore output of 9.3–9.8 million tons (mt), down from 10–11mt projected previously.
The company said in a statement: “Operations at IOC were impacted by extended plant downtime and conveyor belt failures, while we also recovered from wildfires which took place in Northern Quebec in the prior quarter.”
Rio Tinto is the biggest iron ore producer in the world and derives 70% of its profits from iron ore operations. Despite the fall in projected production, it recorded a 1.2% rise in its third-quarter iron ore shipments as production at the Gudai-Darri mine in Pilbara, Western Australia, increased. In the third quarter, it shipped 83.9mt of iron ore from Pilbara, up from 82.9mt in the same quarter a year earlier.
Success in other business areas also appears to be offsetting any concerns around iron ore production. On Tuesday, Rio announced a quarterly rise in output across its copper and aluminium portfolios.
Goldman Sachs analysts claim Chinese copper demand rose 8% in 2023, spurring growth in Rio’s copper operations.
Kyle Rodda, a senior market analyst at Capital.com, said: “Markets are latching onto signs that (Rio’s) copper business is performing strongly, boosting confidence among investors that the strategic pivot to adapt to structural changes in demand is heading in the right direction.”
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Quarterly aluminium production also increased by 9%.
Following the announcement concerning copper and aluminium, Rio’s share price rose by 3% on Tuesday.