Rio Tinto's iron ore sales are on track to hit forecasts

Image: Port Hedland Port Authority.

Rio Tinto is on track to hit its annual Pilbara iron our sales targets despite bad weather delaying earlier shipments.

Second quarter iron ore sales numbers from Western Australia released today show a run-rate of close to 330 million tonnes per annum, in line with guidance.

Rio Tinto has been slashing costs and reducing dividends as the miner chases falling commodity prices. It has taken more than $6 billion in costs out of the business since 2013.

The company in February posted a full-year net loss of $US866 million compared to net earnings the previous year of around $US6.5 billion.

In its quarterly production report today, CEO Jean-S├ębastien Jacques says Rio Tinto has delivered another robust quarter of operational performance.

“We continue to focus on value and maximising cash flow from our assets, through both commercial and operational excellence while maintaining capital discipline,” he says.

Second quarter Pilbara production of 80.9 million tonnes was 8% higher than the same three months in 2015 and 1% above the first quarter of 2016.

This was below analyst expectations of about 83.3 million tonnes.

“This performance reflects minimal weather impacts as well as the successful implementation of operational improvements and the ramp up of expanded and new mines across the Pilbara,” Rio says in its latest quarterly production report.

Quarterly sales of 82.2 million tonnes (Rio Tinto’s share was 67.3 million tonnes) were 6% higher than the second quarter last year and 7% higher quarter-on-quarter.

The average sales price in the first half of 2016 was $44.5 per wet metric tonne.

Rio Tinto says it expects production from the Pilbara to be between 330 and 340 million tonnes in 2017 compared to a forecast of 330 million tonnes in 2016.

Second quarter production statistics for Rio Tinto:

Source: Rio Tinto

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