15 Oct 2010

Increased production reported by Rio TInto

9:09 am on 15 October 2010

Rio Tinto has reported an increase in production for the September quarter, with record production in its iron ore, alumina and coking coal operations.

In its third quarter report, the company reported an iron ore output of 47.6 million tonnes, almost 10% higher than the previous quarter.

The mining group said its production of coking coal (used for steelmaking) reached a record 2.4 million tonnes, up 17% compared to the previous year.

Rio Tinto attributed the record production levels to an increase in investment in its Queensland coking coal operations.

Alumina production also came in at a quarterly record of 2.3 million tonnes, up 5% compared to the last quarter.

Capital spending up

Rio Tinto approved capital projects worth $A4.2 billion during the third quarter, which included $A1.3 billion for its Pilbara iron ore expansion and $A1.6 billion for the development of its Hope Downs 4 iron ore mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Chief executive Tom Albanese said the third quarter investment brings the company's total capital spending approvals to $A5.5 billion this year.

This is on track to meet the company's capital expenditure target of $A13 billion over the 18 months to December 2011.

However, the ABC reports copper and gold production were down 19% and 33% respectively, which the company says is primarily due to lower grades.

Aluminium production was also down 2% compared to the previous quarter.

Bauxite production was up 17% compared to the previous year as a result of higher demand.