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Rio Tinto Q3 Iron Ore Shipments Up 5%; Cuts FY Bauxite, Alumina Production View

Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RTNTF,RIO,RIO.L, RTPPF) reported that its third-quarter pilbara iron ore shipments were 86.1 million tonnes on 100% basis, up 5% from the third quarter of 2018.

Pilbara iron ore production of 87.3 million tonnes--100% basis--was 6% higher than the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a good recovery from the operational and weather challenges experienced earlier in the year.

The company's 2019 Pilbara shipments guidance is unchanged at between 320 and 330 million tonnes on 100% basis.

Third quarter bauxite production was 9% higher than the same period of 2018, with increased production across all sites.

The company shipped 10.4 million tonnes of bauxite to third parties in the third quarter, 23% higher than the same period of 2018.

Third quarter alumina production was 7% below the same period of 2018. Production at Yarwun was lower due to an extended 35-day shutdown, which included a planned five-year maintenance service of thecogeneration plant.

Third quarter aluminium production of 0.8 million tonnes was 3% lower than the same period of 2018, reflecting reduced production at ISAL in Iceland and Kitimat in British Columbia, Canada.

The company now expects its share of bauxite production to be around 54 million tonnes in 2019, compared to the prior outlook of 56 million tonnes to 59 million tonnes, reflecting weather related events in the first quarter, downtime to address commissioning items on new mines and lower production from the Pacific refineries.

The company now projects its share of alumina production to be about 7.7 million tonnes in 2019, compared to the previous outlook of 8.1 million tonnes to 8.4 million tonnes due primarily to maintenance activities in the Pacific refineries.

At Argyle, carat production in the third quarter of 2019 was 7% lower than the same period in 2018 due to lower recovered grade, partially offset by stronger mining and processing rates.

At Diavik, carats recovered in the third quarter were 7% lower than the third quarter of 2018 due to lower ore availability from both the underground and the A21 open pit.

The company's 2019 guidance (Rio Tinto share) is unchanged, with mined copper production of between 550 and 600 thousand tonnes, subject to grade availability, refined copper production of between 220 and 250 thousand tonnes and diamond production of between 15 and 17 million carats.

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