Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore shipments are slipping

Image: Port Hedland Port Authority.

Rio Tinto sees weaker iron ore shipments for the full year from the Pilbara in Western Australia after bad weather.

Over the three months to June, 77.7 million tonnes of iron ore were shipped, down 6% on the same quarter in 2016.

“Iron ore shipments were impacted by an acceleration in our rail maintenance program following poor weather in the first quarter,” says CEO J-S Jacques.

However, Rio reported record output of bauxite.

The production numbers in detail:

Source: Rio Tinto

Guidance for iron ore shipments for the full year is now about 330 million tonnes. The previously guidance was 330 million tonnes to 340 million tonnes.

This takes into consideration first half production and further rail maintenance in the second half to improve track conditions.

Sales of iron ore in the first half were 157 million tonnes (127.2 million tonnes for Rio Tinto), 3% lower than the same period of 2016.

Second quarter sales of 77.7 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 64 million tonnes) were 6% lower than the same period of last year.

“Further rail maintenance will continue throughout the remainder of 2017, albeit at a lower level than in the second quarter,” says Rio.

J-S Jacques the the quarter was a “solid” one for production.

“We believe our focus on capital discipline, maximising cash flow from operations, driving productivity and portfolio shaping will continue to support the delivery of strong cash generation and shareholder returns,” he says.