Rio Tinto publishes 2Q22 production results
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: “We have strengthened our operational performance at a number of sites, which we will now replicate across the portfolio. First ore delivery to Gudai-Darri, our first virgin mine in the Pilbara in over a decade, increases mine capacity and supports production of our flagship product Pilbara BlendMT. We also fired the first draw bell at the Oyu Tolgoi underground project in June and started producing scandium and tellurium. These critical minerals are extracted from existing waste streams from our titanium operation in Quebec and our copper operation in Utah, without the need for new mining.
“We are committed to transforming our culture and building better relationships. In May, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura People (PKKP), which will guide the co-management of the PKKP country where mining takes place.
“We made progress against our four goals in the first half and are committed to further strengthening Rio Tinto while investing to grow in the raw materials needed for the energy transition, decarbonize our portfolio, be a partner and employer of choices, maintain our tight capital allocation and continue to pay attractive dividends.
2Q22 operational highlights and other key announcements
- The company is focused on the safety, health and well-being of its workforce and the communities where it operates. The all injury frequency rate of 0.35 is an improvement compared to 2Q21 (0.42) and in line with the previous quarter (0.35). There has been an overall decline in COVID-19 cases, with spikes in some operations.
- Gudai-Darri delivered the first ore from the main plant in June. As it ramps up, Rio Tinto expects higher production volumes and an improved product mix in 2H22, with Gudai-Darri capacity expected to be reached in 2023. Pilbara produced 78.6 million tonnes (100% basis) in 2Q22, 4% more than in 2Q21. Although significantly higher than average rainfall in May impacted mine production, continued focus on mine pit health and Gudai-Darri commissioning supported a stronger second quarter. Shipments amounted to 79.9 million t (100% basis), i.e. 5% more than in 2Q21. The forecast shipments for the full year remain unchanged at 320 – 335 million t.
- Bauxite production of 14.1 million tonnes was 3% higher than 2Q21 due to Weipa’s strong operational performance thanks to improved reliability at the Amrun plant.
- Aluminum production of 0.7 million tonnes was 10% lower than 2Q21 due to reduced capacity at the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia following the strike that began in July 2021 A controlled restart began in late 2Q22, with ramp-up progressing subject to plant stability. Production at the Boyne Smelter in Queensland has been impacted due to process instability following unplanned absences related to COVID-19. Production has been stabilized and cells that have been taken offline ramped up over the next 12 months. All of the company’s other foundries continued to show stable performance. The forecasts were lowered to 3 – 3.1 million t (previously 3.1 – 3.2 million t).
- Mined copper production of 126,000 t was 9% higher than 2Q21 due to higher material movements and higher grades and recoveries at Kennecott and Escondida, partially offset by lower grades and recoveries at Oyu Tolgoi due to planned mine sequencing.
- On May 18, the company announced that it had agreed to amend the financing plan with Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) to provide liquidity of up to US$400 million in short-term advances, while the special committee of TRQ is valuing the C$34 per share all-cash proposal to acquire approximately 49% of the issued and outstanding shares of TRQ that Rio Tinto does not currently own. The funding plan deadline for TRQ to make an initial equity offering of at least US$650 million has also been extended from late August to late 2022.
- Titanium dioxide slag production of 293,000 t was 2% lower than 2Q21 with stable performance at Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa and improved stability of operations at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane, Canada . There have been some operational disruptions at QIT Madagascar Minerals following the cyclones in Madagascar.
- Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) achieved significant milestones in May, including record year-to-date safety performance (0.26 AIFR vs. 0.73 in 2021) and monthly records for production of concentrate and total material displaced. Pellet and concentrate production was 4% lower than 2Q21 due to the planned annual maintenance shutdown (seven days) which was successfully completed in June (this work was completed in September in 2021 ).
- In 2Q22, the company continued to successfully deploy the Rio Tinto Safe Production System (RTSPS) and now has 15 enterprise-wide deployments across 11 sites, with 30 Rapid Improvement Projects (Kaizens) completed or in progress. Classes. During the six-month period, there was a 9% year-over-year improvement in average uptime at processing plants and drills at deployment sites compared to the same period of 2021. The company is on track to reach its 2022 objective of 30 deployments on 15 sites.
- In 2Q22, Rio Tinto entered into additional partnerships and advanced initiatives to decarbonize its operations and value chains. These include a memorandum of understanding with Salzgitter to work together to manufacture carbon-free steel, and a strategic investment in Nano One – a clean-tech innovator in battery materials.
- Following Queensland Alumina Limited’s (QAL) activation of a response process following Australian government sanctions action, Rio Tinto has assumed 100% capacity for as long as the response will continue. This results in the use of Rusal’s 20% capacity share by Rio Tinto under the toll agreement with QAL.
- Higher inflation rates increased closure obligations, which impacted underlying earnings. In HY22, this resulted in an approximately US$400 million pre-tax expense increase in operating income compared to HY21, including a US$300 million increase in discount amortization, the remainder impacting underlying EBITDA.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/19072022/rio-tinto-releases-2q22-production-results/