Officials at giant Rio Tinto have announced record 2013 production for iron ore, bauxite and thermal coal, and a strong recovery in copper volumes as boosting underlying earnings 10% to $10.2 billion.
Iron ore volumes, meanwhile, were bolstered by the Q2 completion of Pilbara’s phase one infrastructure expansion to 290 million metric tons per year (mt/y), added Rio Tinto representatives, with ramp-up on track to reach nameplate capacity prior to Q3 2014.
Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh was enthused. While “we have set production records,” he said, “this has enhanced cash flow and lowered net debt; our dividend reflects attractive prospects;” exploration and evaluation delivered $1 billion, surpassing 2013’s $750 million guidance.
Net earnings of $3.7 billion, however, mirrored losses of $2.9 billion and impairments of $3.4 billion, in particular from an accounting uplift on first consolidation of Rio Tinto’s massive Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. Other losses were incurred by a project overrun at the Kitimat project in British Columbia and curtailment at the Gove alumina refinery in Australia’s Northern Territory.