Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said “These are excellent fourth quarter operational results, demonstrating continued delivery on our commitments. We have set new records for iron ore production and shipments as we ramp up our 290 expansion, as well as achieving an impressive recovery in copper volumes and record annual production for both bauxite and thermal coal.
“We have exceeded our cost cutting targets for the year and announced or completed $3.5 billion of non-core asset sales. These actions, together with lower capital expenditure in 2013 and beyond, will ensure that Rio Tinto is well positioned to deliver greater value to shareholders.”
- Record quarterly and annual iron ore production, shipments and rail volumes. Shipments from the Pilbara exceeded production by two million tonnes in the fourth quarter, despite impacts from cyclone Christine, which closed the ports for three days at the end of the year and affected the progressive recovery of rail and ports into January. The safe and efficient ramp up to 290 Mt/a nameplate capacity across mines, rail and ports remains on track for completion by the end of the first half of 2014.
- Mined copper benefited from the ramp up of production at Oyu Tolgoi to full capacity and continued improvement in grades and throughput at Kennecott Utah Copper. The heavy equipment access road at Kennecott was completed in October giving renewed access to the entire open pit earlier than originally scheduled.
- Record annual production and shipments for bauxite, with production records at both Australian mines and in Guinea.
- Production of semi-soft and thermal coal improved significantly for the full year due to productivity improvement initiatives and the completion of brownfield mine developments.
- Over $2 billion of operating cash cost improvements achieved in 2013 compared with 2012.
- Exploration and evaluation expenditure reduced by over $1 billion in 2013 compared with 2012, exceeding the $750 million target set for the year.
- Non-core asset divestments totalling $3.5 billion announced in 2013, of which $2.5 billion completed in 2013.
- On 8 January 2014, Turquoise Hill Resources announced the successful completion of its approximately $2.4 billion rights offering which was fully subscribed. The proceeds of the rights issue will be used to repay loans outstanding to Rio Tinto, and will result in a $1.2 billion reduction in Rio Tinto’s consolidated net debt.
(All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto’s share of production, unless otherwise stated.)