Rio Tinto's iron ore shipments are up 14%

Rio Tinto’s iron ore mine near Karratha in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Image: Aaron Bunch/Getty Images

Rio Tinto now expects its full year shipments of iron ore from the Pilbara in Western Australia to be at the high end of its guidance.

The company, releasing its second quarter production results, says iron ore shipments of 88.5 million tonnes over the three months were 14% higher than the second quarter of 2017, mainly due to better weather and improved productivity.

The company says shipments in 2018 are expected to be at the upper end of the guidance range of 330 to 340 million tonnes.

“Operational performance was solid across most commodities, rounding out a strong first half performance for the Group,” says Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques.

“Our increasingly flexible Pilbara iron ore system continued to perform well. Our bauxite and copper businesses also delivered strong operating results, demonstrating the success of our ongoing mine-to-market productivity programme, which is increasingly important in an environment of rising cost inflation.

“Our sustained focus on cash generation, combined with disciplined capital allocation, will ensure we continue to deliver superior returns to our shareholders across the short, medium and long term.”

Pilbara operations produced 168.7 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 140.5 million tonnes) in the first half of 2018, 7% higher than the same period of 2017.

Second quarter production numbers:

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