Rio Tinto Had A Big Start To The Year And Plans To Fight A Court Order To Pay Gina Rinehart Millions

Getty / Paula Bronstein

Rio Tinto had a tidy day on the share market, finishing up nearly 1.4% at $55.52 after announcing record-breaking iron production and shipments in Q2.

The mining giant’s production for the quarter was up 6% to 127.2 million tonnes despite weather problems and a conveyor breakdown that took a ship loader out of action for three weeks.

It also announced the first shipment of copper concentrate to China from its Oyu Tolgoi facility in Mongolia, pictured above. The shipment is a milestone for Rio in the $6.2 billion project which represents Mongolia’s biggest foreign investment.

The company also announced its intention to fight a court decision that would see it have to pay around $183 million in royalties to two companies including Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

Rinehart joined with her long-standing rival, Angela Bennett of Wright Prospecting, in taking Rio to court over mining activity on WA landholdings whose ownership has been disputed for decades.

In May the NSW Supreme Court ruled that royalties were payable over the Channar and Eastern Range and Rio said it expected to make a pre-tax provision of $183 million for the claim – but also said it had notified the court it intended to appeal.

In a statement to the market Rio chief executive Sam Walsh said: “Our iron ore operations continue their impressive performance, with period on period productivity improvements. One of our key priorities this year is to deliver our growth projects. Despite some challenging weather conditions, our Pilbara 290 iron ore expansion remains on track to deliver first tonnes by the end of this quarter.”

The expansion in WA will be closely watched by the market amid recent signs of a slowdown in China.

Rio said its production guidance for the year remained unchanged.

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