Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group released production results for the second quarter this week. Rainy weather reduces bauxite ore production, while capacity ramp-up bumps aluminium smelting activities.
In the second quarter, Rio Tinto produced 13.5 million metric tons of bauxite ore in the quarter, down by 5 percent on the year but up 12 percent on the quarter. Aluminium production in the quarter totaled 814 thousand metric tons, better by 11 percent over last year and up by 4 percent over the previous quarter.
For the year’s first half, Rio Tinto mined 25.6 million metric tons, off by 8 percent over the previous year’s first half. Meanwhile, aluminium production for the year’s opening half totaled 1,598 thousand metric tons, better by 9 percent over last year.
Rio Tinto says that its bauxite production fell on the year due to an increase in rainfall above average at the Weipa mining operation, reducing pit access and increasing haul distances. In addition, equipment out of service hampered bauxite production at both Weipa and Gove. Therefore, Rio Tinto reduced its production guidance for the year to around 54 million metric tons.
As to aluminium production, Rio Tinto noted that the increase in production was largely thanks to a ramp-up at the Kitimat aluminium smelter. The firm notes that the ramp-up at both Kitimat and Boyne aluminium smelters continues as scheduled, which they expect to be completed by year’s end.
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said in a press release that it plans to continue investment in low-carbon aluminium.
“We continued to take disciplined measures to grow in the materials the world needs for the energy transition, with investments to expand our low carbon aluminium production and increase our underground copper production at Kennecott.”
Rio Tinto went on to note its announced US$1.1 million investment at Complexe Jonquière in Canada. The investment will expand the AP60 aluminium smelter with low-carbon technology and includes up to US$113 million in grant money from the Canadian government. The improvement will coincide with the closure of potrooms at the adjacent Arvida aluminium smelter.