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Rio Tinto: Iron Ore Company Of Canada (Ioc)

The following excerpt is from the company's SEC filing.

During the first nine months of 2015, IOC demonstrated a significant shift in operational performance, attributable to improved haul truck and mill availability and enhanced productivity rates for haul trucks and shovels. This resulted in a 21 per cent increase in concentrates produced to 5.5 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 3.2 million tonnes) and a 14 per cent rise in pellet production to 7.3 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 4.3 million tonnes).

Higher production flowed through to a 24 per cent improvement in sales to 13.2 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 7.7 million tonnes) in the first nine months of 2015. Third quarter sales were particularly strong, with concentrate sales of 3.2 million tonnes and pellet shipments of 2.6 million tonnes.

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2015 guidance

Rio Tintos expected 2015 global shipments are unchanged at around 340 million tonnes (100 per cent basis), from its operations in Australia and Canada.


Rio Tinto share of production (000 tonnes)

Q3 2015

vs Q3 2014

vs Q2 2015

9 mths

vs 9 mths


Rio Tinto Aluminium





The strong performance in bauxite was sustained into the third quarter, driven by record quarterly and nine month production at Weipa, which gave rise to a nine month record for the Group.

Weipa benefited from increased plant throughput while Gove continued to ramp up its export capability, running at just under an eight million tonne run-rate in the third quarter of 2015.

Third quarter and year to date bauxite production was four per cent higher than the corresponding periods of 2014 and enabled the group to ship close to 20 million tonnes to third parties in the first nine months of 2015, a 19 per cent improvement on the same period of 2014.

Alumina production for the first nine months of 2015 was up by five per cent compared with the same period of 2014 (excluding production from the Gove refinery which was curtailed in May 2014), reflecting improved productivity at Queensland Alumina and Yarwun.

Year to date and third quarter aluminium production was marginally higher than the same periods of 2014. Record quarterly production at eight of the smelters more than offset lower production from Kitimat as it commissioned the modernised smelter. Kitimat has started to ramp up towards nameplate capacity of 420 thousand tonnes (a 48 per cent increase over previous nameplate capacity), which is expected to be achieved in early 2016.

Rio Tintos expected share of production of bauxite and aluminium are unchanged at 43 million tonnes and 3.3 million tonnes, respectively. The expected share of alumina production has been revised to 7.8 million tonnes (previously 8.0 million tonnes).

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Mined copper

Kennecott Utah Copper



Oyu Tolgoi

Refined copper

Hard coking coal

Semi-soft coking coal

Thermal coal


Kennecott Utah Copper

Mined copper production for the first nine months was substantially lower than the same period of 2014 due to the continuing focus on de-weighting and de-watering the east wall of Bingham Canyon. The

28 per cent improvement on the second quarter was primarily attributable to higher head grades.

Lower mine production was partly mitigated by an inventory drawdown, resulting in refined production in the first nine months of 2015 being 50 per cent lower than in the same period of 2014. To optimise smelter utilisation, Kennecott continues to toll third party concentrate, with 288 thousand tonnes received for processing in the first nine months of 2015. Tolled copper concentrate, smelted and returned to customers, is excluded from reported production figures.

Mined copper production at Escondida in the first nine months of 2015 was ten per cent higher than the same period of 2014, primarily due to higher grades and throughput. Third quarter production was 25 per cent lower than the second quarter due to lower grades and the planned shutdown of the Laguna Seca concentrator for maintenance activities. In conjunction with lower grades, production may also be impacted by water availability in the last quarter of 2015.

Mined copper production for the first nine months of 2015 was 48 per cent higher than the same period of 2014, attributable to higher grades and improved throughput.

On 18 May 2015, the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd and Rio Tinto signed the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan which provides a pathway forward in addressing shareholder matters to restart underground development. Next steps include approval of the updated underground feasibility study and project financing, as well as securing all necessary permits for operating the underground mine.

Through a joint venture agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (Freeport), Rio Tinto is entitled to 40 per cent of material mined above an agreed threshold, as a consequence of expansions and developments of the Grasberg facilities since 1998. Rio Tinto does not expect 2015 production to exceed the metal attributable to Freeport and, accordingly, expects its share of joint venture production to be zero during the year. Freeport is due to announce its third quarter results on 22 October 2015.

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Hard coking coal production in the first nine months was ten per cent higher than the same period of 2014 following improved production rates at Kestrel. Third quarter tonnage was 12 per cent lower than the second quarter due to a scheduled longwall changeover at Kestrel.

Thermal coal production, which was six per cent lower than in the corresponding nine months of 2014, was impacted by wet weather in the Hunter Valley earlier in the year. This was partly offset by increased tonnage at Hail Creek.

Semi-soft coking coal production was 15 per cent higher than in the corresponding nine months of 2014 reflecting mine production sequencing at Hunter Valley Operations.

On 30 September 2015, Rio Tinto announced that it had reached a binding agreement for the sale of its interest in the Bengalla Joint Venture to New Hope Corporation Limited for $606 million. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

In 2015, Rio Tinto expects its share of mined copper production to be around 510 thousand tonnes (previously between 500 and 535 thousand tonnes), and refined copper production to be around 215 thousand tonnes (previously between 190 and 220 thousand tonnes).

For coal, Rio Tintos share of production is unchanged and is expected to be 18 to 19 million tonnes of thermal coal, 3.0 to 3.4 million tonnes of semi-soft coking coal and 7.1 to 8.1 million tonnes of hard coking coal.



(000 carats)




Minerals (000 tonnes)

Borates B


Titanium dioxide slag

Salt (000 tonnes)

Uranium (000 lbs)

Energy Resources of Australia


At Argyle, the ramp-up of production from the underground mine remained the key operational focus. As a result, carats produced were 43 per cent higher in the third quarter and 37 per cent higher year to date compared with the corresponding periods of 2014.

At Diavik, third quarter carats recovered were lower than the same quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015 due to lower processing volumes and lower recovered grades from the A418 and A154N pipes.

Borates production in the first nine months of 2015 was four per cent lower than in the same period of 2014 driven primarily by lower market demand.

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Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT)

Titanium dioxide slag production was 23 per cent lower in the first nine months of 2015 than in the same period of 2014. RTIT has taken the following actions to optimise production, align it with market demand and deliver further free cash flow:

two of the nine furnaces have been idled at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) in Quebec since April 2015.

one of the four furnaces at Richards Bay Minerals has been idled since mid-September 2015 to align the smelter rebuild schedule with market conditions.

the normal winter shutdown at the Havre...