Rio Tinto says delivers solid Q1 production

Rio Tinto said that despite challenging weather conditions at its West Australian and Queensland operations, it has delivered solid production in Q1 2017.

"Our strategy is unchanged,"said CEO J-S Jacques.

"We maintain our disciplined approach to capital management and maximising cash flow, with a focus on managing costs and enhancing productivity across the business," he said.

"These actions support the delivery of strong cash returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term."

Rio's Pilbara iron ore shipments were 76.7m tonnes in Q1. Ship loading was impacted by cyclone activity during the period, and sections of the rail network were affected by significant rainfall.

"Despite these disruptions, shipments were in line with the first quarter of 2016 and guidance for 2017 remains at 330 to 340 million tonnes," the company said.

Q1 bauxite production of 11.3m tonnes and aluminium production of 889 thousand tonnes were both 2% higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016.

"Mined copper production was 37% lower than the first quarter of 2016 due to a 43-day labour strike at Escondida. This strike, combined with the curtailment of production at Grasberg, has led to revised 2017 mined copper guidance of 500 to 550 thousand tonnes," said Rio.

Titanium dioxide slag production rose 35% compared to the first quarter of 2016, reflecting higher market demand. Rio added that 2017 production guidance had slightly increased to between 1.2 and 1.3 million tonnes.

On 24 January 2017, Rio announced it had reached a binding agreement for the sale of Coal & Allied to Yancoal Australia for up to $2.45bn.

"The sale is subject to certain conditions being satisfied, and is expected to complete in the second half of 2017. Yancoal announced receipt of Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval on 13 April 2017."