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Rio Tinto downgrades 2019 Aluminum production guidance

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LONDON (Scrap Register): Rio Tinto’s aluminum production was 789,000 tonnes in July-September, which is down 3% year-on-year and 2% from the April-June quarter, the miner said in its July-September quarterly report.

The company now expects its share of aluminum production from its assets to be near the lower end of the 3.2 million-3.4 million tonnes guidance for 2019, which primarily reflects lower-than-planned volumes at the ISAL smelter in Iceland, Kitimat in British Columbia and Becancour in Canada.

Production guidance for alumina for 2019 was cut to 7.7 million tonnes from a previously expected 8.1 million-8.4 million tonnes due mainly to maintenance activities at its Pacific refineries, it said.

Alumina production in the September quarter of 1.83 million tonnes was down 7% year-on-year and 3% quarter on quarter.

“[Alumina] production at Yarwun [in Queensland, Australia] was lower due to an extended 35-day shutdown, which included a planned five-year maintenance service of the cogeneration plant,” the miner said, noting that normal production has since resumed.

“[Alumina] production at the Queensland Alumina non-managed JV was impacted by maintenance activities, with the site expected to ramp back to full capacity during the fourth quarter,” the company added.

Rio’s bauxite production was 13.8 million tonnes in the September quarter, up 9% from the same time last year and 3% from the June quarter. But it still cut its 2019 production guidance.

“We now expect our share of bauxite production to be around 54 million tonnes [from 56 million-59 million tonnes previously], reflecting weather-related events in the first quarter, downtime to address commissioning items and new mines, and lower production from the Pacific refineries,” it said.

Rio left its 2019 mined copper production guidance unchanged at between 550,000 tonnes and 600,000 tonnes.

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