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Rio Tinto increases production and shipments of iron ore in spite of coronavirus

The mining giant continued to operate at all its locations through the pandemic

Rio Tinto PLC -
The Pilbara

Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) has reported increased production and shipments of iron ore in the second quarter despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic amid a strong price environment.

Overall, production volumes were up 1% year-on-year on a copper equivalent basis, with Pilbara iron ore production up 7% quarter-on-quarter and shipments up 19%.

READ: Challenges mount up for the mining industry in a de-carbonising world, but there are bright spots too

Mined copper was flat on the preceding quarter, aluminium was flat and bauxite was up 5%.

With the iron ore mines performing well in a strong pricing environment, chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said the FTSE 100 group is on track to meet its 2020 iron ore guidance.

He said all the company’s mines continued to operate through the pandemic, with “rigorous” coronavirus health and hygiene controls now embedded across its operations, including “fit for purpose COVID-19 screening”.

After Rio Tinto knowingly destroyed a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site in Australia, the company insisted it was “even more committed to our relationship with communities”, with a board-led review of heritage management processes within iron ore to be completed by October and a pledge to “continue to support the West Australian government's planned reform of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972”.

Jacques said: ”We are executing our value over volume strategy to drive performance, productivity and free cash flow per share. We will remain agile and ready to adapt to the changing operating and macro environment.”

Quick facts: Rio Tinto PLC

Price: 4755 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £59.27 billion

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