Copper, Iron ore, News, Production

‘One of the most exciting exploration pipelines in years’: Rio Tinto

Pilbara Minerals chair, leader, leadership, BHP Image: Shutterstock / Rob Bayer

Mining giant Rio Tinto has released its fourth quarter production results, with figures up across the board.

The company shipped 331.8 million tonnes of iron ore in 2023, a three per cent increase from 2022 and the second highest on record.

Rio produced 620,000 tonnes of copper for the year, a two per cent increase on the previous year. This reflects first sustainable production from the company’s Oyu Tolgoi underground copper mine in Mongolia.

Copper growth was hampered somewhat by works at the Kennecott operations in the US, where the smelter and refinery were rebuilt and ramped-up. This saw Rio’s refined copper production drop 16 per cent from 2022.

Rio produced 54.6 million tonnes of bauxite in 2023. Operations saw a continued improvement in the fourth quarter, with production eight per cent higher than the prior quarter, following the challenges of higher-than-average rainfall at Weipa in the first quarter and equipment downtime at both Weipa and Gove in the first half.

Aluminium production increased nine per cent from 2022 as Rio’s Kitimat smelter in Canada reached full capacity.

On the project side of things, 2023 brought some exciting developments for the company.

“We have one of the most exciting exploration pipelines in years, including our new copper joint venture with Codelco, launched in December,” Stausholm said.

“We made real progress in shaping our portfolio for the future, entering the recycled aluminium market in North America and progressing the world class Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

“The work we are doing today is creating a stronger Rio Tinto for years to come.”

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