Rio Tinto beats trend in iron ore production in Q2 2009

The world's third-largest mining company, Rio Tinto, has managed to beat the global recession trend with an increase in production in iron ore, thermal coal and refined copper but experienced a slowdown in production in aluminum, mined copper, alumina, hard coking coal and bauxite in the second quarter of 2009.

With iron ore being the biggest contributor to Rio's earnings, iron ore production was up eight per cent compared with the second quarter of 2008 and Pilbara iron ore production was 53 million tones, up 11 per cent reflecting that the operations was running at full capacity.

Chief executive Tom Albanese said, "Markets remained tough in the second quarter, as expected, particularly in aluminium. The production curtailments announced in January in this product group have started to take effect and are reflected in this report.  We continue to press ahead with actions to reduce costs across the board, align production with demand, and bring down levels of net debt.''

''We have successfully completed our $15.2-billion rights issue this month (See: Rio terminates Chinalco deal; to raise $15.2 billion through rights issue) and during the course of this year we have agreed divestments to the value of $3.7 billion," he added.

The Anglo Australian miner said that following production cutbacks in response to the sharp fall in demand, bauxite production was down 14 per cent, alumina down six per cent and aluminium down five per cent, compared with the second quarter of 2008. 

Second quarter trading in the aluminium business continued to experience difficult conditions and showed a slight improvement on the first quarter of 2009.