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Rio Tinto announces strong third quarter production results

Rio Tinto announces strong third quarter production results

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Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said “We achieved strong production results in the third quarter, with copper volumes up as Oyu Tolgoi ramps up to full capacity and Kennecott continues to recover ahead of expectations. Productivity improvements in our Australian operations led to record quarterly thermal coal production. In iron ore, we achieved record production and shipments in Western Australia following the official opening of our landmark Pilbara 290 port and rail expansion, four months ahead of its original schedule and $400 million under budget. We maintained good progress against our strategic priorities to improve the performance of our businesses, strengthen the balance sheet and deliver our approved growth projects. We are also making further important gains in productivity across our operations and continue to drive costs out of the business.”

Highlights here

Record quarter for iron ore production, shipments and rail volumes. First shipments through Cape Lambert wharf B were made in late August, four months ahead of the original timeframe. The safe and efficient ramp-up schedule is on track to reach a full run-rate production of 290 Mt/a by the end of the first half of 2014.

Production at Oyu Tolgoi continued to ramp up and is now consistently producing at design capacity. Shipments of copper concentrate to China commenced on 9 July. Oyu Tolgoi’s customers are making good progress with Chinese customs officials to obtain the necessary approvals to allow collection of purchased concentrate from the bonded warehouse.

2013 expectations for mined copper at Kennecott Utah Copper have been upgraded to 185,000 tonnes. The new heavy vehicle access road is expected to be operational in the next few weeks.

First hot metal was produced at the AP60 plant in Quebec. Once fully commissioned, the 60,000 tonne per year plant will produce 40 per cent more aluminium per cell than the previous generation of AP technology.

Production of semi-soft and thermal coal improved following the completion of recent brownfield mine expansions and substantial productivity gains through operational improvements from load and haul fleets.

On track to exceed our $750 million exploration and evaluation spend reduction target for 2013, having achieved $729 million in lower exploration and evaluation spend during the nine months to September compared to the same period in 2012.

All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto’s share of production, unless otherwise stated.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

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