TIDMRIO

RNS Number : 7433Y

Rio Tinto PLC

18 January 2022

 
 
 

Rio Tinto releases fourth quarter production results

18 January 2022

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm, said: "In 2021 we continued to experience strong demand for our products while operating conditions remained challenging, including due to prolonged COVID-19 disruptions. Despite this, we progressed a number of our projects, including the Pilbara replacement mines, underlining the resilience of the business and the commitment and flexibility of our people, communities and host governments. We are seeing some initial positive results from the implementation of the Rio Tinto Safe Production System, which we will significantly ramp up in 2022, as we continue to work hard to improve our operational performance to become the best operator.

"In the fourth quarter we set a new direction for the company and announced a number of partnerships focused on decarbonising the value chain for our products, including green steel. We also entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina, which is strongly aligned with our strategy. These actions will ensure we continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and progress our ambition to net-zero carbon emissions."

 
                                                                          vs Full 
                                      Q4     vs Q4      vs Q3  Full Year     Year 
Production*                         2021      2020       2021       2021     2020 
----------------------------  ---  -----  --------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
Pilbara iron ore shipments 
 (100% basis)                 Mt    84.1       -5%        +1%      321.6      -3% 
Pilbara iron ore production 
 (100% basis)                 Mt    84.1       -2%        +1%      319.7      -4% 
Bauxite                       Mt    13.1       -2%        -6%       54.3      -3% 
Aluminium                     kt     757       -7%        -2%      3,151      -1% 
Mined copper                  kt     132        0%        +6%        494      -7% 
Titanium dioxide slag         kt     228      -16%        +9%      1,014     -9 % 
IOC iron ore pellets 
 and concentrate              Mt     2.5       -9%       +15%        9.7      -6% 
----------------------------  ---  -----  --------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
 

*Rio Tinto share unless otherwise stated

2021 operational highlights and other key announcements

-- The safety and well-being of our employees and contractors remains our priority. Fatigue, labour shortages and other pressures from COVID-19 have heightened the safety risk in day-to-day operations and remind us that there is no room for complacency. We experienced our third consecutive year with no fatalities at our managed operations. We are working hard with our partners to achieve the same results at our non-managed assets and marine operations.

-- Pilbara iron ore production of 319.7 million tonnes (100% basis) was 4% lower than 2020. This is due to above average rainfall in the first half of the year, cultural heritage management and delays in growth and brownfield mine replacement tie-in projects. Pilbara shipments in 2021 were 321.6 million tonnes (100% basis), 3% lower than 2020, and included elevated levels of SP10 product as a result of delays in growth and brownfield mine replacement tie-in projects.

-- Bauxite production of 54.3 million tonnes was 3% lower than 2020 due to severe wet weather in the first quarter impacting system stability throughout the year, equipment reliability issues and overruns on planned shutdowns at our Pacific operations.

-- Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes was 1% lower than 2020 due to reduced capacity at our Kitimat smelter in British Columbia following the strike which commenced in July 2021. The labour union and employees have reached an agreement with controlled restart in 2022.

-- Mined copper production of 494 thousand tonnes was 7% lower than 2020 due to lower recoveries and throughput at Escondida as a result of the prolonged impact of COVID-19, partly offset by higher recoveries and grades at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia and Kennecott in the US.

-- Titanium dioxide slag production of 1,014 thousand tonnes was 9% lower than 2020 as a result of community disruptions and subsequent curtailment of operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) coupled with unplanned maintenance and equipment reliability issues at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) in Canada. On 24 August, RBM resumed operations following stabilisation of the security situation, supported by the national and provincial government, as well as substantive engagement with host communities and their traditional authorities.

-- Production of pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) was 6% lower than 2020 due to prolonged labour and equipment availability issues impacting product feed and various other operational challenges throughout the year.

-- At the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia, as a result of delays in the approval of the Exploitation Field Licence (EFL), which is a prerequisite to publish the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and commence the consultation process, we are revising development timelines. Based on current estimates and subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits and licences, first saleable production is expected to be no earlier than 2027 (previously 2026).

-- In the fourth quarter, we entered into several partnerships to accelerate decarbonising our own business and the value chains we operate in. In November, we announced the ELYSIS joint venture successfully produced aluminium without any direct greenhouse gas emissions from commercial-size cells.

-- On 20 October, we outlined the actions being taken to strengthen the business and improve performance. We unveiled a longer-term strategy to ensure we thrive in a decarbonising world and continue to deliver attractive shareholder returns, in line with our policy.

-- This year, we initiated the Rio Tinto Safe Production System (RTSPS) at five pilot sites, focusing on sustainably unlocking capacity across the system. We are already seeing returns in the first year of rollout including a significant improvement at the Kennecott concentrator since the July deployment compared to the previous 12 months performance. A significantly larger programme is planned for 2022, subject to COVID-19 constraints, with the RTSPS rollout of up to 30 deployments at 15 sites as well as up to 80 rapid improvement projects which aim at improving targeted bottlenecks.

-- On 28 October, we issued $1.25 billion 30-year fixed rate SEC-registered bonds priced at 2.75%. The proceeds of the new issuance were used to fund the early redemption and extinguishment of the company's $1.20 billion 3.75% bonds due to mature in June 2025.

-- On 19 December, we announced the Board of Directors had selected Dominic Barton to succeed Simon Thompson as the new Chair. Dominic will join the Board with effect from 4 April 2022 and be appointed to the role of Chair at the conclusion of the Rio Tinto Limited annual general meeting on 5 May 2022.

-- On 21 December, we announced we had entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina from Rincon Mining for $825 million. Rincon is one of the largest undeveloped lithium brine projects in the world, located in the heart of the lithium triangle in Salta Province.

-- Our guidance assumes development of the pandemic does not lead to government-imposed restrictions and widespread protracted cases related to new highly contagious variants with high severity, which could result in a significant number of our production critical workforce and contractor base being unable to work due to illness and/or isolation requirements. This risk extends to prolonged interruption of service from a key partner or supplier which could lead to severely constrained operational activity of a key asset or project. This risk is exacerbated globally by tight labour markets and supply chain delays.

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

2022 production guidance

 
Rio Tinto share, unless otherwise stated           2021 Actuals      2022 
-------------------------------------------------  ------------  -------- 
                                                                   320 to 
Pilbara iron ore(1) (shipments, 100% basis) (Mt)            322       335 
Bauxite (Mt)                                                 54  54 to 57 
Alumina (Mt)                                                       8.0 to 
                                                            7.9       8.4 
Aluminium (Mt)                                                     3.1 to 
                                                            3.2       3.2 
                                                                   500 to 
Mined copper (kt)                                           494       575 
                                                                   230 to 
Refined copper (kt)                                         202       290 
Diamonds(2) (M carats)                                             5.0 to 
                                                            3.8       6.0 
Titanium dioxide slag (Mt)                                         1.1 to 
                                                            1.0       1.4 
IOC(3) iron ore pellets and concentrate (Mt)                      10.0 to 
                                                            9.7      11.0 
Boric oxide equivalent (Mt)                                 0.5      0.5 
-------------------------------------------------  ------------  -------- 
 

(1) Pilbara shipments guidance remains subject to risks around commissioning and ramp-up of new mines and management of cultural heritage.

(2) Reflects 100% ownership of Diavik (previously 60%) from 1st November 2021.

(3) Iron Ore Company of Canada.

-- Iron ore shipments and bauxite production guidance remain subject to weather and market conditions.

-- Our guidance assumes development of the pandemic does not lead to government-imposed restrictions and widespread protracted cases related to new highly contagious variants with high severity, which could result in a significant number of our production critical workforce and contractor base being unable to work due to illness and/or isolation requirements. This risk extends to prolonged interruption of service from a key partner or supplier which could lead to severely constrained operational activity of a key asset or project. This risk is exacerbated globally by tight labour markets and supply chain delays.

-- Pilbara shipments guidance remains subject to commissioning and ramp-up of new mines and management of cultural heritage, including any impacts from the recent changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA). We support the strengthening of Aboriginal heritage protection in Western Australia and continue to engage with Traditional Owners regarding current and proposed plans for mining activities, adjusting mine plans where required. Given the quality of our resource, we retain a range of development options in the Pilbara, subject to heritage and environmental approvals.

Investments, growth and development projects

-- We continue to proactively manage COVID-19 and prioritise work across critical projects, as challenges associated with interstate and international border access continue, impacting the availability and movement of people and goods, most notably in Australia and Mongolia. Mitigation plans are in place however there are some delays with the delivery of equipment to sites and access to key personnel.

-- Exploration and evaluation expense in 2021 was $726 million, $101 million (16%) higher than 2020, with ramp-up of activities in Australia, Europe and Western Africa.

Pilbara mine projects

-- Commissioning and ramp-up of Pilbara growth and brownfield mine replacement projects has been impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, including labour access and supply chain quality issues. The latter has been exacerbated by an inability to conduct pre-delivery quality assurance and control at international steel and equipment manufacturers due to limitations on travel.

-- Mining and operational readiness activities are progressing at the Gudai-Darri mine and the railway is operational. The first train was loaded from the mobile crushing and screening facilities in December. First production from the main plant is now expected in the second quarter of 2022, subject to the continuing impacts of COVID-19.

-- The Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 project achieved first ore in October, in line with previous guidance. At Robe Valley, the autonomous mining truck fleet has been commissioned. Since achieving first ore in August, ongoing wet plant construction and commissioning challenges are impacting production ramp-up.

Oyu Tolgoi underground project(1)

Technical progress

-- The project is technically and operationally ready for undercut commencement, despite continued COVID-19 constraints in Mongolia. Site accommodation and staffing levels improved in the quarter to between 60% and 70% of planned requirements. The impact on project costs of the additional restrictions related to COVID-19 to the end of December 2021 is estimated to be $175 million. The project has achieved the conveyor to surface decline breakthrough and completed construction of Materials Handling System 1 with commissioning expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

-- Shaft 4 sinking activities recommenced in October, with advancement now at 148 metres below ground level. Shaft 3 readiness works continue, with sinking commencement expected by the end of the first quarter of 2022, despite some disruptions following an unplanned failure on one of the sinking brake systems. The delay to the commissioning of shafts 3 and 4 is still expected to be approximately nine months per prior guidance based on known COVID-19 impacts to date. Panel 1 and 2 studies will be ongoing throughout 2022.

Other updates

-- Negotiations with the Government of Mongolia are constructive and making positive progress. All key stakeholders have stated that they remain committed to moving the project forward and reaching a long-term solution to the items under discussion.

-- In December, the updated Resources and Reserves were registered in Mongolia in accordance with Mongolian regulations and approval from Mongolian authorities of the 2022 Annual Mine Plan was received. The updated Feasibility Study (OTFS20) has been submitted to the relevant governmental agencies of Mongolia.

-- As a result of COVID-19 impacts and outstanding non-technical undercut criteria, first sustainable production will be no earlier than January 2023, subject to the timing of commencement of the undercut. The full impact on the cost of the integrated project is subject to further analysis once we have clarity on the timeline around the completion of the undercut criteria and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

-- Other milestones that need to be met in order to ensure that the project can commence caving operations (undercut) include: approval of the project investment uplift to $6.75 billion, approval of the funding plan and extension of the current power supply arrangements until an agreed long term stable and reliable power solution can be fully implemented.

Other key projects and exploration and evaluation

   --     The Zulti South project in South Africa remains on full suspension. 

-- At the Kemano hydropower tunnel project in British Columbia, Canada, the tunnel boring machine is being dismantled and removed following breakthrough in October. Although COVID-19 continues to affect the workforce, project completion remains on schedule for the second half of 2022.

-- At the Resolution Copper project in Arizona, we continue to work with the US Forest Service to secure approval of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In parallel, mine studies and engagement with the Native American tribes and local communities continue to progress.

-- At the Winu project in Western Australia, there has been progress towards securing consent from the Traditional Owners to the Project Agreement in advance of submitting the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals. Drilling, fieldwork and study activities continue to progress to schedule.

-- At the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, we continue to engage with key stakeholders in-country including the Government of Guinea. We remain committed to an inclusive partnership, seeking mutual and sustainable benefits by developing our project in line with international social and environmental standards. A new drilling programme has commenced, and expressions of interest are being sourced for construction and early development works expected to be carried out in 2022.

-- At the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia, as a result of delays in the approval of the Exploitation Field Licence (EFL), which is a prerequisite to publish the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and commence the consultation process, we are revising development timelines. Based on current estimates and subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits and licences, first saleable production is expected to be no earlier than 2027 (previously 2026). The Feasibility Study and the EIA Studies are progressing. We fully understand the concerns amongst some Serbian stakeholders about environmental impacts and we will continue to engage to demonstrate the project has developed mitigation solutions in the project plan.

-- Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has previously indicated to the market that it has identified cost and schedule overruns in executing the mine closure plan that is expected to be significant relative to the findings of the Ranger Project Area closure feasibility study.

(1) Project baseline reporting has been updated following endorsement of the definitive estimate by Rio Tinto Board and Turquoise Hill Resources (pending Oyu Tolgoi board approval).

The definitive estimate assumed COVID-19 restrictions in 2021 that were no more stringent than those experienced in September 2020 and noted that should COVID-19 constraints continue beyond 2021 or should the COVID-19 situation escalate further in 2021 leading to tougher restrictions, additional costs and schedule impacts would arise. Since the definitive estimate, at the end of 2020, Mongolia implemented additional restrictions in response to community transmission cases, and in March 2021 the first cases of COVID-19 were identified at Oyu Tolgoi resulting in temporary site shutdown, quarantine measures and further travel and movement restrictions. The impact of these additional restrictions, which have continued throughout this period and are beyond those experienced in September 2020, is ongoing. To date, the impact on projects costs of the additional restrictions experienced to the end of December 2021 is estimated to be $175 million. Additional costs and schedule impacts continue to be incurred and the final impact is still to be determined.

Sustainability highlights

We continue to advance our sustainability agenda. We are now a member of T he Dow Jones Sustainability(TM) World Index , which comprises global sustainability leaders as identified by S&P Global, representing the top 10% of the largest 2,500 companies in the S&P Global Broad Market Index based on ESG dimensions.

On 9 November, we announced a partnership with RESOLVE, a Washington-based non profit organisation, to launch Regeneration, a start-up that will use the re-mining and processing of waste from legacy mine sites to support rehabilitation activities and restore natural environments. We will make an equity investment of $2 million and analyse our portfolio to identify potential opportunities for the first Regeneration project.

On 23 October, we announced a partnership with BHP and Fortescue Metals Group to fund innovative, industry-first learning programmes as part of a continued commitment towards mining sector workplaces that are free from sexual harassment, bullying and racism. The partnership will fund and contribute to the design, development and implementation of new social awareness education packages for deployment through a range of education providers such as Technical and further education (TAFE), Registered Training Organisations, universities and high schools.

On 19 December, we called for Expressions of Interest from Western Australian manufacturers to build 100 rail cars for our Pilbara operations. We will initially purchase 50 rail cars from the successful supplier, followed by an ongoing commitment of 10 rail cars a year for the next five years. This will help grow the local rail car manufacturing industry and support local jobs.

Communities & Social Performance (CSP)

At the end of 2021 the relationship between Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) leadership and Rio Tinto Iron Ore is constructive and considered. The ongoing rehabilitation works at Juukan Gorge are on schedule and have the active involvement of the appointed Puutu Kunti Kurrama (PKK) committee members. An agreement on a co-management of country approach and an appropriate remedy for the destruction of Juukan Gorge is substantially progressed. Together we are charting new territory, and this takes time, but we are moving forward on a model which is respectful and looks to provide certainty of protection for cultural heritage and mining.

On 17 October, we welcomed the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia's final report into the destruction of the rock shelters at Juukan Gorge. We continue to work closely with Traditional Owners to build trusted relationships and better understand and protect their cultural heritage.

On 17 October, we announced a new three-year partnership with Telethon aimed at improving the health and well-being of children in Western Australia. The partnership, which follows $4 million contribution in 2020, will provide $4 million contribution each year to 2023, to support research into mental health and juvenile diabetes.

At Resolution Copper in Arizona, we partnered with Stantec and White Mountain Apache community members to provide 64 hydro panels on the Fort Apache Reservation, and we are planning installation programs in other Native American communities. The panels will provide a new source of clean drinking water through an innovative, renewable technology that uses solar energy.

Key highlights in Australia from the quarter are outlined below, with further information available on our website .

Agreement modernisation

Discussions with Pilbara Traditional Owners to modernise existing agreements continued in the fourth quarter. Heads of Agreements (HoA), or similar, are being drafted with two Traditional Owner Groups. The HoA include principles and approaches to co-management of country over the life of mine cycle and partnership arrangements to broaden benefits arising from mining. Engagement protocols to guide the modernisation discussions have been executed or endorsed with five Traditional Owner Groups.

Cultural heritage management

Pilbara Iron Ore continues to apply the Integrated Heritage Management Process (IHMP). Known sites of cultural significance continue to be re-assessed and mine plans adjusted or measures taken to avoid disturbance. This includes increased buffer zones and blast management plans to reduce vibration risk. To date, we have reviewed 2,205 heritage sites across different planning horizons. Lessons learned and best practice are shared and replicated, as appropriate, across Rio Tinto.

Australian Advisory Group (AAG)

Work to develop the AAG is progressing with the terms of reference finalised. The AAG is on track to commence in the first quarter of 2022 and will be comprised of a minimum of 60% Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander membership, with an Indigenous Australian Chairperson.

Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA)

We support the strengthening of Aboriginal heritage protection in Western Australia. We continue to collaborate with Traditional Owners, incorporating heritage and social surroundings information into mine designs, new developments and our IHMP systems.

Climate change and our value chain

We progressed initiatives in the fourth quarter in line with our pathway to decarbonise our business and actively develop technologies that will enable our customers and our customers' customers to decarbonise.

-- On 26 October, we announ ced a partnership with Carbfix to implement a technology for capturing carbon and permanently storing it underground at our ISAL aluminium smelter in Iceland. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Carbfix will use Rio Tinto's land surrounding the ISAL smelter for onshore CO(2) injection in the world's first carbon mineral storage hub, the Coda Terminal. Liquified CO(2) will be imported by ship from industrial sites across North Europe for storage. The partnership follows an investment earlier in October in Carbon Capture Inc., a climate tech start-up that focuses on developing modular Direct Air Capture units powered by renewable energy and with the potential to remove significant amounts of CO(2) from the atmosphere for permanent underground storage.

-- On 27 October, we announced a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the science agency for the US Department of the Interior, to provide a clearer picture of the potential for critical mineral resources beneath the Continental Divide near Montana's Boulder Batholith. The USGS will fly airborne geophysical surveys in areas of interest with support from Rio Tinto during 2022 as part of its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative.

-- On 28 October, we announced the signing of a MoU with BlueScope to research and design low-emissions processes for the steel value chain, including iron ore processing, iron and steelmaking and related technologies. The companies will work together to explore low-carbon steelmaking pathways using Pilbara iron ores, including the use of clean hydrogen to replace coking coal at BlueScope's Port Kembla Steelworks.

-- On 4 November, we announced ELYSIS successfully produced aluminium without any direct greenhouse emissions at its Industrial Research and Development Center in Saguenay, Canada. Work is now focused on accelerating the scale-up of the ELYSIS technology towards the demonstration of even larger commercial-size cells in 2023.

-- On 16 November, we announced an investment in Inobat Auto, a European-based battery technology and manufacturing company. This investment will support the completion of InoBat's research and development centre and pilot battery line in Voderady, Slovakia. The investment follows a MoU signed in May, outlining an intention to work together to progress the establishment of a "cradle-to-cradle" electric vehicle battery value chain in Serbia.

-- On 10 December, we announced the launch of the construction of the the solar and wind power plant at QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mine operations in Fort Dauphin, in southern Madagascar. The renewable energy project plays a key role in implementing QMM's 'sustainable mine' concept and enabling Rio Tinto operations in Madagascar to reach carbon neutrality by 2023.

-- On 11 January, we announ ced the purchase of four battery-electric trains for use in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Production is due to commence in 2023 ahead of initial trials in the Pilbara in early 2024. The locomotives will be recharged at purpose-built charging stations at the port or mine. They will also be capable of generating additional energy while in transit through a regenerative braking system which takes energy from the train and uses it to recharge the onboard batteries.

Our markets

Market dynamics were broadly positive throughout 2021 for most commodities, lifting a number of prices to cyclical highs. Fiscal and monetary support and successful vaccine campaigns were key contributors to strong demand growth that ultimately stretched global supply chains to their limits and created challenging conditions for many of the world's producers. We are encouraged by growth prospects in the coming year but remain vigilant in relation to potential disruption from new COVID-19 variants and geopolitical tensions.

-- China is transitioning from tightening to easing policies following a slowdown in the last quarter of 2021, with mild pro-growth measures in place to support property, infrastructure and consumption. We expect China to continue to finetune its policies to balance multiple priorities.

-- In the United States, activity momentum eased toward year end amid concerns over the latest COVID-19 variant and persistent supply chain constraints. Peak recovery has likely passed implying GDP growth will slow, but solid fundamentals remain in place. Household debt has fallen to the lowest since 2000, supply shortages are expected to ease and inventory restocking should support growth.

-- Economic activity in the eurozone weakened significantly in late 2021, and the current level of restrictions suggest a slower than expected start to 2022, especially for the service-based economies.

-- China's crude steel production and iron ore imports were stable year on year, with steel production exceeding 1 billion tonnes for a second time, despite numerous steel mill operating restrictions and a slowing property sector. Steel consumption and production rates in China decelerated significantly during the fourth quarter of 2021 however, iron ore seaborne supply improved, resulting in a 30% decline in iron ore prices in the fourth quarter versus the prior quarter. Meanwhile, the steel and iron ore demand recovery in developed and other emerging economies maintained its momentum and global crude steel production grew by an estimated 6% year on year - by one of its largest absolute annual increments in history - to a record total of almost 2 billion tonnes in 2021.

-- Aluminium prices experienced volatility during the quarter but recovered to just over $2,800/t at the end of 2021, driven by extensive power-related smelting curtailments in Europe. Physical markets remained tight amid firm demand and lower inventory levels, resulting in regional market premia recovering by the end of the year in both the United States and Europe.

-- Copper prices ended the year at 440c/lb, down 45c/lb from record levels reached in May 2021. Demand remained sound throughout 2021, whilst supply faced multiple headwinds including COVID-19, shipping disruptions and other factors. Exchange inventories declined over the course of 2021 and ended the year at less than 200kt.

-- Global electric vehicle (EV) sales more than doubled in 2021 due to wider availability of EV models, government subsidies and falling production costs (battery prices). Lithium production was unable to maintain the same pace as demand and prices ended the year up 150%.

Average realised prices achieved for our major commodities

 
                  Units     H1 2021  H2 2021  2021   2020 
Pilbara iron 
 ore           FOB, $/wmt    154.9    111.5   132.3  91.0 
-------------  -----------  -------  -------  ----- 
Pilbara iron 
 ore           FOB, $/dmt    168.4    121.2   143.8  98.9 
-------------  -----------  -------  -------  ----- 
Aluminium*      Metal $/t    2,626    3,254   2,899  1,946 
-------------  -----------  -------  -------  ----- 
Copper**         US c/lb      415      435     424    283 
-------------  -----------  -------  -------  ----- 
IOC pellets       $/wmt      218.3    210,8   214.4  127.6 
-------------  -----------  -------  -------  ----- 
 

*LME plus all-in premiums (product and market)

**Average realised price for all units sold. Realised price does not include the impact of the provisional pricing adjustments, which positively impacted revenues in 2021 by $246 million (2020 positive impact of $182 million).

IRON ORE

 
                                                                       vs Full 
                                   Q4     vs Q4     vs Q3  Full Year      Year 
Rio Tinto share of production 
 (Million tonnes)                2021      2020      2021       2021      2020 
------------------------------  -----  --------  --------  ---------  -------- 
Pilbara Blend and SP10 
 Lump(1)                         20.4       -6%       +3%       76.4       -1% 
Pilbara Blend and SP10 
 Fines(1)                        32.1       +3%       +4%      119.9       -3% 
Robe Valley Lump                  1.2      -16%      -19%        5.1       -8% 
Robe Valley Fines                 2.0      -22%      -11%        8.4      -20% 
Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)         14.4       +1%       -8%       56.9       -3% 
------------------------------  -----  --------  --------  ---------  -------- 
Total Pilbara production         70.1       -1%        0%      266.8       -3% 
------------------------------  -----  --------  --------  ---------  -------- 
Total Pilbara production 
 (100% basis)                    84.1      -2 %       +1%      319.7       -4% 
------------------------------  -----  --------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 
 
                                                                                  vs Full 
                                  Q4         vs Q4         vs Q3  Full Year          Year 
Rio Tinto share of shipments 
 (Million tonnes)               2021          2020          2021       2021          2020 
-----------------------------  -----  ------------  ------------  ---------  ------------ 
Pilbara Blend Lump              12.8          -21%           -1%       51.5          -18% 
Pilbara Blend Fines             24.3          -31%         -16 %      109.6          -13% 
Robe Valley Lump                 1.1          -15%          +10%        4.0          -14% 
Robe Valley Fines                2.2          -27%          -13%        9.4          -18% 
Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)        14.1           -6%           -5%       56.9           -1% 
SP10 Lump(1)                     4.8         +367%            0%       16.1         +315% 
SP10 Fines(1)                   10.7         +503%         +163%       20.5         +244% 
-----------------------------  -----  ------------  ------------  ---------  ------------ 
Total Pilbara shipments(2)      70.1           -5%           +1%      267.9           -2% 
-----------------------------  -----  ------------  ------------  ---------  ------------ 
Total Pilbara shipments 
 (100% basis)(2)                84.1          -5 %           +1%      321.6           -3% 
-----------------------------  -----  ------------  ------------  ---------  ------------ 
Total Pilbara Shipments 
 (consolidated basis)(2, 
 3)                             72.0           -5%           +1%      275.2           -2% 
-----------------------------  -----  ------------  ------------  ---------  ------------ 
 

1 SP10 includes other lower grade products.

2 Shipments includes material shipped from the Pilbara to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards by the group in the same period.

3 While Rio Tinto has a 53% net beneficial interest in Robe River Iron Associates, it recognises 65% of the assets, liabilities, sales revenues and expenses in its accounts (as 30% is held through a 60% owned subsidiary and 35% is held through a 100% owned subsidiary). The consolidated basis sales reported here include Robe River Iron Associates on a 65% basis to enable comparison with revenue reported in the financial statements.

Pilbara operations

2021 shipments of 321.6 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 267.9 million tonnes) were 3% lower than 2020. Shipments included 36.6 million tonnes of SP10 products. There was 8.8 million tonnes of Pilbara product retained as working capital at China portside (1.7 million tonnes in 2020). SP10 products comprised a higher share of shipments in the fourth quarter as a result of delays in growth and brownfield mine replacement tie-in projects. As those mines ramp-up through the first half of 2022, we will see SP10 gradually decrease and return to levels around 6% of shipments in the medium term.

Pilbara operations produced 319.7 million tonnes (Rio Tinto share 266.8 million tonnes) in 2021, 4% lower than 2020. This was due to above average rainfall in the first half of the year, cultural heritage management and delays in growth and brownfield mine replacement tie-in projects. Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and a tight labour market have further impacted our ability to access experienced contractors and particular skill sets.

Production from the new greenfields mine at Gudai-Darri and brownfield mine replacement project at Robe Valley, was delayed due to COVID-19 impact on labour availability and an inability to conduct pre-delivery quality assurance and control at international steel manufacturers due to limitations on travel. First ore from Gudai-Darri was railed in December from the modular crushing and screening plant installed to supplement production and mitigate commissioning delays. Robe Valley production was significantly impacted by the Mesa A wet plant commissioning delays.

Approximately 11% of sales in 2021 were priced by reference to the prior quarter's average index lagged by one month. The remainder was sold either on current quarter average, current month average or on the spot market. Approximately 28% of sales in the fourth quarter were made on a free on board (FOB) basis, with the remainder sold including freight.

Achieved realised pricing in 2021 was $132.3 per wet metric tonne on an FOB basis (equivalent to $143.8 per dry metric tonne, at 8% moisture assumption). This compares to the monthly average Platts index for 62% fines converted to an FOB basis of $146.9 per dry metric tonne. In 2020, average realised pricing was $91.0 per wet metric tonne ($98.9 dry metric tonne).

China Portside Trading

We continue to increase our iron ore portside sales in China, with 5.1 million tonnes of sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 (1.8 million tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2020), leading to a total of 14.0 million tonnes in 2021 (5.5 million tonnes in 2020). We experienced increased inventory levels at the port due to higher volumes of SP10 and constrained availability of high grade blending stocks in the fourth quarter.

Our portside operation handles product from the Pilbara and Canada as well as third party product, and provides blending and screening capabilities. Approximately 81% of portside sales in 2021 were either blended or screened in Chinese ports.

ALUMINIUM

 
                                                                                           vs Full 
                                                 Q4   vs Q4     vs Q3           Full Year     Year 
Rio Tinto share of production 
 ('000 tonnes)                                 2021    2020      2021                2021     2020 
------------------------------  -------------------  ------  --------  ------------------  ------- 
Bauxite                                      13,095     -2%       -6%              54,326      -3% 
Bauxite third party 
 shipments                                    8,988     -1%      -11%              37,596      -4% 
Alumina                                       1,911     -8%       -1%               7,894      -2% 
Aluminium                                       757     -7%       -2%               3,151      -1% 
------------------------------  -------------------  ------  --------  ------------------  ------- 
 

Bauxite

Bauxite production of 54.3 million tonnes was 3% lower than 2020 due to severe wet weather in the first quarter impacting system stability throughout the year, equipment reliability issues and overruns on planned shutdowns at our Pacific operations.

We shipped 37.6 million tonnes of bauxite to third parties in 2021, 4% lower than the same period of 2020 due to the major weather events in the first quarter causing shipment delays.

Alumina

Alumina production of 7.9 million tonnes was 2% lower than 2020, as a result of outages during the year at the Yarwun refinery in Queensland, Australia and at Vaudreuil refinery in Quebec, Canada. Production at the Queensland refinery remained stable year on year.

Aluminium

Aluminium production of 3.2 million tonnes was 1% lower than 2020 due to reduced capacity at our Kitimat smelter in British Columbia following the strike which commenced in July 2021. Agreement with the labour union and employees was reached in October with a controlled restart in 2022. The reduced capacity was partly offset by a robust performance across the remaining smelting portfolio.

Average realised aluminium prices including both product and market premiums for value-added products (VAP) and remelt were up by 49% to $2,899 per tonne in 2021 (2020: $1,946 per tonne). The LME price increased by 46% to $2,480 per tonne (2020: $1,704 per tonne), whilst the mid-west premium duty paid increased by 119% to $584 per tonne in 2021 (2020: $267 per tonne). Our VAP sales comprised 50% of primary metal sold in 2021 (2020: 43%). Product premiums for VAP sales improved by 8% averaging, $230 per tonne of VAP sold (2020: $213 per tonne).

On 17 November, we announced an investment of $87 million to increase low-carbon aluminium production in Canada with 16 new smelting cells at our AP60 smelter, in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The investment will increase production at the smelter by around 45%, or 26,500 tonnes of primary aluminium per year, to a capacity of 86,500 metric tonnes and provide a secure future for approximately 100 employees who work at the facility.

COPPER

 
                                                                       vs Full 
                                Q4      vs Q4      vs Q3  Full Year       Year 
  Rio Tinto share of 
  production ('000 tonnes)    2021       2020       2021       2021       2020 
---------------------------  -----  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
Mined copper 
---------------------------  -----  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
Kennecott                     49.7       +47%       +16%      159.4       +14% 
Escondida                     69.6       -18%        +2%      279.5       -17% 
Oyu Tolgoi                    13.0        -7%        -7%       54.6        +9% 
---------------------------  -----  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 
Refined copper 
---------------------------  -----  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
Kennecott                     25.5       -38%       -29%      143.3       +69% 
Escondida                     14.5        -5%        -1%       58.6       -17% 
---------------------------  -----  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 

Kennecott

Mined copper production was 14% higher than 2020, with higher grades and recovery but less than expected production due to the slope failure in May. The transition to the south wall is complete, with copper head grade exceeding 0.5% in the second half.

Refined copper production was 69% higher than 2020 as a result of improved performance through most of the year relative to 2020, despite the furnace failure in September 2021. The smelter was safely restarted in late October and has been stable since. In 2020, there was also significant downtime following an earthquake and major maintenance.

Escondida

Mined copper production was 17% lower than 2020, mainly due to 10% lower grade in ore feed to concentrators, 4% lower throughput and 31% lower recoverable copper in ore stacked for leaching, mostly caused by continuous COVID-19 restrictions in 2021 which impacted the mine development due to lower workforce availability.

Oyu Tolgoi

Mined copper production from the open pit was 9% higher than 2020 with improved performance, temporary increase in grades, and increased mill feed following geotechnical issues in the first half, partly offset by lower staffing levels due to COVID-19.

Safety is our first priority and strict measures are in place to protect our people. In the fourth quarter, stringent Chinese border restrictions continued due to increased cases of COVID-19 in Mongolia. We continue to work closely with the Mongolian and Chinese authorities and our customers to manage the risk of supply chain disruptions. Cross-border concentrate shipments into China have resumed with some measures in place to transport greater volumes in a safe and efficient manner, however uncertainty continues to exist with the rate of COVID-19 cases in Mongolia. The force majeure declared on shipments from 30 March remains in place.

Provisional pricing

At 31 December 2021, the Group had approximately 201 million pounds of copper sales that were

provisionally priced at 436 cents per pound. The final price of these sales will be determined during the first half of 2022. This compares with 260 million pounds of open shipments at 31 December 2020, provisionally priced at 336 cents per pound. Provisional pricing adjustments positively impacted revenues in 2021 by $246 million (2020 positive impact of $182 million).

MINERALS

 
                                                                                     vs Full 
                                                Q4      vs Q4      vs Q3  Full Year     Year 
Rio Tinto share of production 
 (million tonnes)                             2021       2020       2021       2021     2020 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
Iron ore pellets and 
 concentrate 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
IOC                                            2.5        -9%       +15%        9.7      -6% 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
 
                                                                                     vs Full 
                                                Q4      vs Q4      vs Q3  Full Year     Year 
Rio Tinto share of production 
 ('000 tonnes)                                2021       2020       2021       2021     2020 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
Minerals 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
Borates - B(2) O(3) 
 content                                       117       +18%        -5%        488      +2% 
Titanium dioxide slag                          228       -16%        +9%      1,014      -9% 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
 
                                                                                     vs Full 
                                                Q4      vs Q4      vs Q3  Full Year     Year 
Rio Tinto share of production 
 ('000 carats)                                2021       2020       2021       2021     2020 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
Diavik                                       1,155       +27%       +38%      3,847      +3% 
------------------------------  ------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------- 
 

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC)

Iron ore production was 6% lower than 2020 due to prolonged labour and equipment availability issues impacting product feed and various other operational challenges throughout the year.

Borates

Borates production in 2021 was in line with 2020 and benefited from improved refinery operating rates following the successful implementation of productivity initiatives supporting system stability. We expect logistical challenges to continue with elevated congestion at the Port of Los Angeles and shipping rate escalation. Labour availability is also posing a threat to supply chain stability.

Iron and Titanium

Titanium dioxide production was 9% lower than 2020. The lower production was as a result of community disruptions and subsequent curtailment of operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa coupled with unplanned maintenance and equipment reliability issues at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT), Canada. On 24 August, RBM resumed operations following stabilisation of the security situation, supported by the national and provincial government, as well as substantive engagement with host communities and their traditional authorities.

Diamonds

On 18 November, we annou nced we had become the sole owner of Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada, continuing its leading role in the Canadian diamond industry. At Diavik, carats recovered in 2021 were 3% higher than 2020, due to an increased share of production from November, which offset plant performance issues and lower ore grade in the fourth quarter.

On 28 October, we announced that the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds(TM) Tender collection of 70 rare pink and red diamonds from our Argyle mine in Australia delivered record breaking results in its 38-year history.The 2021 collection is a historical collection comprising the pinnacle of the Argyle production, mined in its final year of operations, before closing in November 2020.

EXPLORATION AND EVALUATION

Pre-tax and pre-divestment expenditure on exploration and evaluation charged to the income statement in 2021 was $726 million, compared with $625 million in 2020. Approximately 40% of this expenditure was incurred by Copper, 35% by central exploration, 16% by Minerals and 9% by Iron Ore.

There were no significant divestments of central exploration properties in 2021.

Exploration highlights

Rio Tinto has a strong portfolio of projects with activity in 18 countries across seven commodities in early exploration and studies stages. All projects have followed government COVID-19 requirements and guidelines while focusing on protecting well-being and health of local communities. The bulk of the exploration expenditure in the fourth quarter focused on copper in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, United States and Zambia, nickel projects in Canada, and diamonds projects in Canada. A mineral investment contract was signed with the Republic of Angola and Endiama to explore for diamonds. Mine-lease exploration continued at Rio Tinto managed businesses including Pilbara Iron in Australia and Diavik in Canada. Activities on the ground at the Falcon diamonds project in Saskatchewan, Canada are limited to care and maintenance while Rio Tinto continues to carry out studies and review information acquired in previous programs.

A summary of activity for the quarter is as follows:

 
                                                                  Greenfield/ Brownfield 
   Commodities          Studies Stage         Advanced projects         programmes 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                                                                     Melville Island, 
                                             Amargosa, Brazil*,          Australia 
     Bauxite                                    Sanxai, Laos*      Cape York, Australia 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                       Lithium borates: 
                         Jadar, Serbia 
                       Nickel: Tamarack,                            Nickel Greenfield: 
Battery Materials   US (3rd party operated)                           Canada, Finland 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                                                                    Copper Greenfield: 
                                                                     Australia, Chile, 
                                                                    China, Kazakhstan, 
                                             Copper: La Granja,      Nicaragua, Peru, 
                      Copper/molybdenum:      Peru, Pribrezhniy,    Serbia, US, Zambia, 
                        Resolution, US            Kazakhstan          Brazil, Canada, 
                      Copper/Gold: Winu,       Calibre-Magnum,      Colombia, Finland, 
     Copper                Australia              Australia               Namibia 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                                                                   Diamonds Greenfield: 
                                                                      Canada, Angola 
                                                                   Diamonds Brownfield: 
    Diamonds           Falcon, Canada*                                    Diavik 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                                                                      Greenfield and 
                      Pilbara, Australia                           Brownfield: Pilbara, 
    Iron Ore           Simandou, Guinea      Pilbara, Australia          Australia 
-----------------  ------------------------  -------------------  ---------------------- 
                    Potash: KL262, Canada                          Heavy mineral sands 
                     Heavy mineral sands:                            Greenfield: South 
    Minerals         Mutamba, Mozambique**                                Africa 
 

*Limited activity during the quarter

**Became sole owner and operator in the quarter

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT

This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding Rio Tinto's financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto's products, production forecasts and reserve and resource positions and any statements related to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic), are forward-looking statements. The words "intend", "aim", "project", "anticipate", "estimate", "plan", "believes", "expects", "may", "would", "should", "could", "will", "target", "set to", "seek", "risk" or similar expressions, commonly identify such forward-looking statements.

Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Rio Tinto, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding Rio Tinto's present and future business strategies and the environment in which Rio Tinto will operate in the future. Among the important factors that could cause Rio Tinto's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are levels of actual production during any period, levels of demand and market prices, the ability to produce and transport products profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange rates on market prices and operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty and economic conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors, activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or regulation, the risks and uncertainties associated with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 or other pandemic and such other risk factors identified in Rio Tinto's most recent Annual report and accounts in Australia and the United Kingdom and the most recent Annual report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") or Form 6-Ks furnished to, or filed with, the SEC. The above list is not exhaustive. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, particularly in light of the current economic climate and the significant volatility, uncertainty and disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Rio Tinto expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking (except as required by applicable law, the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Rio Tinto's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Nothing in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that future earnings per share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily match or exceed its historical published earnings per share.

 
Contacts                        Please direct all enquiries to 
                                  media.enquiries@riotinto.com 
Media Relations, UK         Media Relations, Australia 
 
 Illtud Harri                Jonathan Rose 
 M +44 7920 503 600          M +61 447 028 913 
 
 David Outhwaite             Matt Chambers 
 M +44 7787 597 493          M +61 433 525 739 
 
 Media Relations, Americas   Jesse Riseborough 
                             M +61 436 653 412 
 Matthew Klar 
 T +1 514 608 4429 
--------------------------  -------------------------------- 
Investor Relations, UK      Investor Relations, Australia 
 
 Menno Sanderse             Natalie Worley 
 M +44 7825 195 178         M +61 409 210 462 
 
 David Ovington             Amar Jambaa 
 M +44 7920 010 978         M +61 472 865 948 
 
 Clare Peever 
 M: +44 7788 967 877 
--------------------------  -------------------------------- 
 
  Rio Tinto plc              Rio Tinto Limited 
  6 St James's Square        Level 7, 360 Collins Street 
  London SW1Y 4AD            Melbourne 3000 
  United Kingdom             Australia 
 
  T +44 20 7781 2000         T +61 3 9283 3333 
  Registered in England      Registered in Australia 
  No. 719885                 ABN 96 004 458 404 
--------------------------  -------------------------------- 
 
 

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Steve Allen, Rio Tinto's Group Company Secretary.

riotinto.com

LEI: 213800YOEO5OQ72G2R82

Classification: 3.1 Additional regulated information required to be disclosed under the laws of a Member State

Rio Tinto production summary

Rio Tinto share of production

 
                                         Quarter             Full Year                    % change 
                                                                                     Q4 
                                                                                     21 
                                                                                     vs         Q4 21       2021 
                                    2020    2021    2021                             Q4            vs         vs 
                                      Q4      Q3      Q4     2020     2021           20         Q3 21       2020 
------------------------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  -------  -----------  ------------  --------- 
Principal commodities 
                           ('000 
Alumina                       t)   2,085   1,937   1,911    8,039    7,894          -8%           -1%        -2% 
                           ('000 
Aluminium                     t)     815     774     757    3,180    3,151          -7%           -2%        -1% 
                           ('000 
Bauxite                       t)  13,299  13,967  13,095   56,131   54,326          -2%           -6%        -3% 
                           ('000 
Borates                       t)     100     123     117      480      488         +18%           -5%        +2% 
                           ('000 
Copper - mined                t)   132.5   125.2   132.3    527.9    493.5           0%           +6%        -7% 
                           ('000 
Copper - refined              t)    56.1    50.5    40.0    155.0    201.9         -29%          -21%       +30% 
                           ('000 
Diamonds                    cts)     910     834   1,155    3,731    3,847         +27%          +38%        +3% 
                           ('000 
Iron Ore                      t)  73,749  72,074  72,561  285,932  276,557          -2%           +1%        -3% 
Titanium dioxide           ('000 
 slag                         t)     272     209     228    1,120    1,014         -16%           +9%        -9% 
------------------------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  -------  -----------  ------------  --------- 
Other Metals & Minerals 
                           ('000 
Gold - mined                 oz)    89.1    94.5    73.9    283.0    344.9         -17%          -22%       +22% 
                           ('000 
Gold - refined               oz)    38.9    44.5    31.5    117.5    176.4         -19%          -29%       +50% 
                           ('000 
Molybdenum                    t)     6.4     0.4     1.1     20.4      7.6         -83%         +144%       -63% 
                           ('000 
Uranium                     lbs)     742       0       0    2,870       65        -100%            0%       -98% 
                           ('000 
Salt                          t)   1,113   1,508   1,471    4,861    5,848         +32%           -2%       +20% 
                           ('000 
Silver - mined               oz)   1,120   1,110   1,108    4,357    4,148          -1%            0%        -5% 
                           ('000 
Silver - refined             oz)     449     733     516    1,363    2,671         +15%          -30%       +96% 
------------------------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  -------  -----------  ------------  --------- 
 

Throughout this report, figures in italics indicate adjustments made since the figure was previously quoted on the equivalent page or reported for the first time. Production figures are sometimes more precise than the rounded numbers shown, hence small differences may result between the total of the quarter figures and the year to date figures.

Rio Tinto share of production

 
                                                                                               Full    Full 
                                          Rio Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4    Year    Year 
                                           interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021    2020    2021 
---------------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------ 
 
ALUMINA 
Production ('000 tonnes) 
  Jonquière (Vaudreuil)                   100%     364     352     349     325     338   1,424   1,364 
  Jonquière (Vaudreuil) specialty 
   Alumina plant                               100%      24      22      28      29      28      94     107 
  Queensland Alumina                            80%     774     743     756     738     727   2,961   2,964 
  São Luis (Alumar)                        10%      99      95      97      75      99     385     366 
  Yarwun                                       100%     823     822     782     770     719   3,175   3,093 
Rio Tinto total alumina production                    2,085   2,034   2,012   1,937   1,911   8,039   7,894 
 
ALUMINIUM 
Production ('000 tonnes) 
  Australia - Bell Bay                         100%      48      46      47      48      48     192     189 
  Australia - Boyne Island                      59%      77      74      75      75      75     303     298 
  Australia - Tomago                            52%      77      75      75      77      78     305     305 
  Canada - six wholly owned                    100%     387     385     391     343     325   1,506   1,444 
  Canada - Alouette (Sept-Îles)            40%      63      62      63      64      63     249     251 
  Canada - Bécancour                       25%      29      28      29      29      30      98     116 
  Iceland - ISAL (Reykjavik)                   100%      48      49      51      52      52     183     203 
  New Zealand - Tiwai Point                     79%      67      65      65      67      67     265     264 
  Oman - Sohar                                  20%      20      20      20      20      20      79      79 
Rio Tinto total aluminium production                    815     803     816     774     757   3,180   3,151 
 
BAUXITE 
Production ('000 tonnes) (a) 
  Gove                                         100%   3,090   2,879   3,030   3,067   2,787  12,299  11,763 
  Porto Trombetas                               12%     392     254     364     332     416   1,395   1,366 
  Sangaredi                                     (b)   1,887   1,887   1,755   1,763   1,704   7,428   7,109 
  Weipa                                        100%   7,929   8,545   8,550   8,805   8,188  35,009  34,088 
Rio Tinto total bauxite production                   13,299  13,566  13,699  13,967  13,095  56,131  54,326 
---------------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------ 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto has a 22.95% shareholding in the Sangaredi mine but benefits from 45.0% of production.

Rio Tinto share of production

 
                           Rio                                                                          Full         Full 
                         Tinto           Q4           Q1           Q2           Q3           Q4         Year         Year 
                      interest         2020         2021         2021         2021         2021         2020         2021 
------------------  ----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 
BORATES 
Production ('000 
tonnes B(2) 
O(3) content) 
  Rio Tinto 
   Borates - 
   borates                100%          100          122          126          123          117          480          488 
------------------  ----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 
COPPER 
Mine production 
('000 tonnes) 
(a) 
  Bingham Canyon          100%         33.8         33.2         33.7         42.8         49.7        140.0        159.4 
  Escondida                30%         84.8         72.1         69.5         68.4         69.6        337.8        279.5 
  Oyu Tolgoi (b)           34%         14.0         15.2         12.3         14.1         13.0         50.2         54.6 
Rio Tinto total 
 mine production                      132.5        120.5        115.5        125.2        132.3        527.9        493.5 
Refined production 
('000 tonnes) 
  Escondida                30%         15.2         14.0         15.3         14.7         14.5         70.2         58.6 
  Rio Tinto 
   Kennecott (c)          100%         40.9         45.2         36.9         35.7         25.5         84.8        143.3 
Rio Tinto total 
 refined 
 production                            56.1         59.2         52.3         50.5         40.0        155.0        201.9 
------------------  ----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

(c) We continue to process third party concentrate to optimise smelter utilisation, including 38.1 thousand tonnes of cathode produced from purchased concentrate in year-to-date 2021. Purchased and tolled copper concentrates are excluded from reported production figures and production guidance. Sales of cathodes produced from purchased concentrate are included in reported revenues.

 
 
DIAMONDS 
Production ('000 carats) 
  Diavik (a)                              100%   910  1,007   851   834  1,155  3,731  3,847 
(a) On 17 November 2021, Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Diavik increased 
 from 60% to 100%. Production is reported including this change from 1 
 November 2021. 
GOLD 
Mine production ('000 ounces) 
 (a) 
  Bingham Canyon                          100%  45.3   36.2  30.5  38.1   34.7  171.2  139.5 
  Escondida                                30%  14.3   11.4  11.7  12.6   12.9   50.9   48.5 
  Oyu Tolgoi (b)                           34%  29.4   48.8  37.9  43.8   26.3   61.0  156.9 
Rio Tinto total mine production                 89.1   96.4  80.1  94.5   73.9  283.0  344.9 
Refined production ('000 ounces) 
  Rio Tinto Kennecott                     100%  38.9   56.8  43.6  44.5   31.5  117.5  176.4 
----------------------------------  ----------  ----  -----  ----  ----  -----  -----  ----- 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

Rio Tinto share of production

 
                                           Rio                                             Full     Full 
                                         Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4     Year     Year 
                                      interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021     2020     2021 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
 
IRON ORE 
Production ('000 tonnes) (a) 
  Hamersley mines                       (b)     53,316  47,063  47,621  53,041  51,974  210,682  199,699 
  Hamersley - Channar (c)                 100%   1,935   2,250   2,712   2,593   3,075    6,139   10,630 
  Hope Downs                               50%   6,571   5,616   5,960   6,500   6,567   24,522   24,642 
  Iron Ore Company of Canada               59%   2,740   2,345   2,721   2,163   2,498   10,402    9,727 
  Robe River - Pannawonica (Mesas 
   J and A)                                53%   3,988   3,506   3,090   3,721   3,196   16,056   13,514 
  Robe River - West Angelas                53%   5,199   4,900   4,137   4,056   5,252   18,131   18,345 
Rio Tinto iron ore production 
 ('000 tonnes)                                  73,749  65,681  66,241  72,074  72,561  285,932  276,557 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Breakdown of Production: 
  Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump 
   (d)                                          21,666  18,050  18,265  19,742  20,374   77,393   76,431 
  Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines 
   (d)                                          31,122  28,245  28,796  30,825  32,081  123,292  119,947 
  Robe Valley Lump                               1,364   1,307   1,219   1,423   1,152    5,561    5,102 
  Robe Valley Fines                              2,624   2,199   1,871   2,297   2,044   10,496    8,412 
  Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)                      14,233  13,534  13,369  15,623  14,412   58,789   56,938 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Pilbara iron ore production 
 ('000 tonnes)                                  71,009  63,336  63,520  69,910  70,063  275,530  266,830 
  IOC Concentrate                                1,297     871   1,154     829   1,009    4,781    3,863 
  IOC Pellets                                    1,443   1,474   1,567   1,335   1,489    5,622    5,864 
IOC iron ore production ('000 
 tonnes)                                         2,740   2,345   2,721   2,163   2,498   10,402    9,727 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Breakdown of Shipments: 
  Pilbara Blend Lump                            16,280  12,842  12,830  13,018  12,832   62,878   51,522 
  Pilbara Blend Fines                           35,140  28,565  27,795  28,901  24,308  126,578  109,569 
  Robe Valley Lump                               1,246   1,025     934     962   1,061    4,608    3,981 
  Robe Valley Fines                              3,062   2,402   2,190   2,567   2,237   11,473    9,395 
  Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)                      15,055  14,222  13,640  14,906  14,121   57,749   56,889 
  SP10 Lump (d)                                  1,037   2,664   3,748   4,826   4,841    3,879   16,078 
  SP10 Fines (d)                                 1,771   2,923   2,817   4,063  10,684    5,951   20,487 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Pilbara iron ore shipments 
 ('000 tonnes) (e)                              73,590  64,642  63,953  69,242  70,084  273,115  267,921 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Pilbara iron ore shipments - consolidated 
 basis ('000 tonnes) (e) (g)                    75,630  66,431  65,627  71,131  71,972  280,831  275,161 
                                                ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
  IOC Concentrate                                1,157   1,019   1,048   1,054     989    4,928    4,110 
  IOC Pellets                                    1,539   1,477   1,303   1,374   1,711    6,006    5,865 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
IOC Iron ore shipments ('000 
 tonnes) (e)                                     2,696   2,496   2,352   2,428   2,700   10,934    9,976 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Rio Tinto iron ore shipments 
 ('000 tonnes) (e)                              76,286  67,137  66,305  71,671  72,784  284,050  277,897 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Rio Tinto iron ore sales ('000 
 tonnes) (f)                                    76,125  65,551  67,145  70,967  69,489  283,778  273,153 
----------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Includes 100% of production from Paraburdoo, Mt Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline, Marandoo, Yandicoogina, Brockman, Nammuldi, Silvergrass and the Eastern Range mines. Whilst Rio Tinto owns 54% of the Eastern Range mine, under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Hamersley Iron manages the operation and is obliged to purchase all mine production from the joint venture and therefore all of the production is included in Rio Tinto's share of production.

(c) Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Channar mine increased from 60% to 100%, following conclusion of its joint venture with Sinosteel Corporation upon reaching planned 290 million tonnes production on 22 October 2020. Production is reported at 100% from this date onward. Historic data is unchanged.

(d) SP10 includes other lower grade products.

(e) Shipments includes material shipped to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards in the same period.

(f) Represents the difference between amounts shipped to portside trading and onward sales from portside trading, and third party volumes sold.

(g) While Rio Tinto has a 53% net beneficial interest in Robe River Iron Associates, it recognises 65% of the assets, liabilities, sales revenues and expenses in its accounts (as 30% is held through a 60% owned subsidiary and 35% is held through a 100% owned subsidiary). The consolidated basis sales reported here include Robe River Iron Associates on a 65% basis to enable comparison with revenue reported in the financial statements.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto share of production

 
                                       Rio                                      Full    Full 
                                     Tinto     Q4     Q1     Q2     Q3     Q4   Year    Year 
                                  interest   2020   2021   2021   2021   2021   2020    2021 
------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ------ 
 
MOLYBDENUM 
Mine production ('000 tonnes) 
 (a) 
  Bingham Canyon                      100%    6.4    5.0    1.1    0.4    1.1   20.4     7.6 
------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ------ 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

 
 
SALT 
Production ('000 tonnes) 
  Dampier Salt                           68%  1,113  1,411  1,458  1,508  1,471  4,861  5,848 
--------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ----- 
 
SILVER 
Mine production ('000 ounces) 
 (a) 
  Bingham Canyon                        100%    555    524    476    639    589  2,205  2,228 
  Escondida                              30%    488    395    370    387    439  1,859  1,591 
  Oyu Tolgoi (b)                         34%     77     85     79     84     80    293    328 
--------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ----- 
Rio Tinto total mine production               1,120  1,005    925  1,110  1,108  4,357  4,148 
--------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ----- 
Refined production ('000 
 ounces) 
  Rio Tinto Kennecott                   100%    449    812    609    733    516  1,363  2,671 
--------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ----- 
 

(a) Mine production figures for metals refer to the total quantity of metal produced in concentrates, leach liquor or doré bullion irrespective of whether these products are then refined onsite, except for the data for bauxite and iron ore which represent production of marketable quantities of ore plus concentrates and pellets.

(b) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

 
 
TITANIUM DIOXIDE SLAG 
Production ('000 tonnes) 
  Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium 
   (a)                              100%  272  279  298  209  228  1,120  1,014 
----------------------------  ----------  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  -----  ----- 
 

(a) Quantities comprise 100% of Rio Tinto Fer et Titane and Rio Tinto's 74% interest in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM).

 
 
URANIUM 
Production ('000 lbs U(3) 
 O(8) ) (a) 
  Energy Resources of Australia       86%  742  65  ---2,870  65 
--------------------------------  -------  ---         ----- 
 
 
 
 

( a) ERA production data are drummed U(3) O(8) .

ERA ceased processing operations on 8 January 2021, as required by the Ranger Authority.

Rio Tinto's Argyle operations were closed in 2020. No data for these operations are included in the Share of production table.

Production figures are sometimes more precise than the rounded numbers shown, hence small differences may result between the total of the quarter figures and the year to date figures.

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                                        Rio                                            Full    Full 
                                      Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4    Year    Year 
                                   interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021    2020    2021 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------ 
 
ALUMINA 
Smelter Grade Alumina - 
 Aluminium Group 
Alumina production ('000 
 tonnes) 
Australia 
  Queensland Alumina Refinery 
   - Queensland                         80%     968     929     945     922     909   3,701   3,705 
  Yarwun refinery - Queensland         100%     823     822     782     770     719   3,175   3,093 
Brazil 
  São Luis (Alumar) 
   refinery                             10%     990     953     968     748     993   3,848   3,662 
Canada 
  Jonquière (Vaudreuil) 
   refinery - Quebec (a)               100%     364     352     349     325     338   1,424   1,364 
 

(a) Jonquière's (Vaudreuil's) production shows smelter grade alumina only and excludes hydrate produced and used for specialty alumina.

 
Speciality Alumina - Aluminium 
 Group 
Speciality alumina production 
 ('000 tonnes) 
Canada 
  Jonquière (Vaudreuil) 
   plant - Quebec                      100%  24  22  28  29  28  94  107 
 
 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                                        Rio                                       Full    Full 
                                      Tinto     Q4     Q1     Q2     Q3     Q4    Year    Year 
                                   interest   2020   2021   2021   2021   2021    2020    2021 
-------------------------------  ----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  ------  ------ 
 
ALUMINIUM 
Primary Aluminium 
Primary aluminium production 
 ('000 tonnes) 
Australia 
  Bell Bay smelter - Tasmania          100%     48     46     47     48     48     192     189 
  Boyne Island smelter - 
   Queensland                           59%    129    124    127    125    126     510     502 
  Tomago smelter - New South 
   Wales                                52%    149    145    146    150    150     592     592 
Canada 
  Alma smelter - Quebec                100%    119    117    117    119    119     473     471 
  Alouette (Sept-Îles) 
   smelter - Quebec                     40%    158    155    157    159    157     623     629 
  Arvida smelter - Quebec              100%     41     40     42     42     43     169     168 
  Arvida AP60 smelter - Quebec         100%     15     15     15     15     15      60      60 
  Bécancour smelter 
   - Quebec                             25%    115    112    117    115    119     393     463 
  Grande-Baie smelter - Quebec         100%     57     56     57     58     58     225     230 
  Kitimat smelter - British 
   Columbia                            100%     91     95     97     46     25     329     263 
  Laterrière smelter 
   - Quebec                            100%     63     62     63     63     64     250     252 
Iceland 
  ISAL (Reykjavik) smelter             100%     48     49     51     52     52     183     203 
New Zealand 
  Tiwai Point smelter                   79%     84     82     82     84     85     333     333 
Oman 
  Sohar smelter                         20%    100     98     99    100    100     397     395 
 
 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                                          Rio                                            Full    Full 
                                        Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4    Year    Year 
                                     interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021    2020    2021 
---------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------ 
 
BAUXITE 
Bauxite production ('000 tonnes) 
Australia 
  Gove mine - Northern Territory         100%   3,090   2,879   3,030   3,067   2,787  12,299  11,763 
  Weipa mine - Queensland                100%   7,929   8,545   8,550   8,805   8,188  35,009  34,088 
Brazil 
  Porto Trombetas (MRN) mine              12%   3,268   2,117   3,033   2,764   3,469  11,629  11,383 
Guinea 
  Sangaredi mine (a)                      23%   4,193   4,194   3,899   3,919   3,786  16,506  15,797 
 
Rio Tinto share of bauxite 
 shipments 
Share of total bauxite shipments 
 ('000 tonnes)                                 12,993  13,444  13,602  14,201  13,031  55,345  54,278 
Share of third party bauxite shipments 
 ('000 tonnes)                                  9,104   9,024   9,493  10,091   8,988  39,357  37,596 
 

(a) Rio Tinto has a 22.95% shareholding in the Sangaredi mine but benefits from 45.0% of production.

 
                                     Rio                                                            Full          Full 
                                   Tinto        Q4        Q1        Q2        Q3        Q4          Year          Year 
                                interest      2020      2021      2021      2021      2021          2020          2021 
----------------------------  ----------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ------------  ------------ 
BORATES 
Rio Tinto Borates - borates         100% 
US 
  Borates ('000 tonnes) (a)                    100       122       126       123       117           480           488 
 

(a) Production is expressed as B(2) O(3) content.

 
                                       Rio                                                           Full         Full 
                                     Tinto        Q4        Q1        Q2        Q3        Q4         Year         Year 
                                  interest      2020      2021      2021      2021      2021         2020         2021 
-------------------------------  ---------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  -----------  ----------- 
 
COPPER & GOLD 
Escondida                              30% 
Chile 
Sulphide ore to concentrator 
 ('000 tonnes)                                36,303    32,654    31,903    33,528    35,787      139,230      133,872 
  Average copper grade (%)                      0.83      0.78      0.78      0.73      0.71         0.83         0.75 
Mill production (metals in 
 concentrates): 
  Contained copper ('000 
   tonnes)                                     246.1     207.8     202.8     201.2     203.6        956.8        815.5 
  Contained gold ('000 ounces)                  47.8      38.0      38.9      42.0      42.9        169.5        161.7 
  Contained silver ('000 
   ounces)                                     1,627     1,318     1,234     1,291     1,462        6,196        5,305 
Recoverable copper in ore stacked 
 for leaching ('000 tonnes) (a)                 36.5      32.5      28.7      26.7      28.4        169.1        116.3 
Refined production from leach 
 plants: 
  Copper cathode production 
   ('000 tonnes)                                50.8      46.6      51.1      49.0      48.4        233.9        195.3 
 

(a) The calculation of copper in material mined for leaching is based on ore stacked at the leach pad.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                               Rio                                                                 Full           Full 
                             Tinto         Q4         Q1         Q2         Q3         Q4          Year           Year 
                          interest       2020       2021       2021       2021       2021          2020           2021 
----------------------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ------------  ------------- 
 
COPPER & GOLD 
(continued) 
Rio Tinto Kennecott 
Bingham Canyon mine           100% 
Utah, US 
Ore treated ('000 
 tonnes)                               11,418     10,054      7,918      9,995      9,809        44,676         37,776 
Average ore grade: 
  Copper (%)                             0.34       0.38       0.48       0.47       0.55          0.36           0.47 
  Gold (g/t)                             0.22       0.21       0.21       0.22       0.21          0.22           0.21 
  Silver (g/t)                           2.07       2.30       2.64       2.80       2.55          2.08           2.57 
  Molybdenum (%)                        0.068      0.058      0.021      0.017      0.020         0.059          0.029 
Copper concentrates 
 produced 
 ('000 tonnes)                            138        140        141        180        187           561            648 
  Average concentrate 
   grade 
   (% Cu)                                24.2       23.7       23.9       23.7       26.3          24.8           24.5 
Production of metals 
in copper 
concentrates: 
  Copper ('000 tonnes) 
   (a)                                   33.8       33.2       33.7       42.8       49.7         140.0          159.4 
  Gold ('000 ounces)                     45.3       36.2       30.5       38.1       34.7         171.2          139.5 
  Silver ('000 ounces)                    555        524        476        639        589         2,205          2,228 
Molybdenum 
 concentrates produced 
 ('000 tonnes):                          12.2        9.4        2.2        1.0        2.2          40.7           14.8 
  Molybdenum in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 tonnes)                          6.4        5.0        1.1        0.4        1.1          20.4            7.6 
 
Kennecott smelter & 
 refinery                     100% 
Copper concentrates 
 smelted 
 ('000 tonnes)                            234        240        103        165        157           448            665 
Copper anodes produced 
 ('000 
 tonnes) (b)                             44.8       50.5       23.5       35.7       32.9          86.9          142.5 
Production of refined 
metal: 
  Copper ('000 tonnes) 
   (c)                                   40.9       45.2       36.9       35.7       25.5          84.8          143.3 
  Gold ('000 ounces) 
   (d)                                   38.9       56.8       43.6       44.5       31.5         117.5          176.4 
  Silver ('000 ounces) 
   (d)                                    449        812        609        733        516         1,363          2,671 
 

(a) Includes a small amount of copper in precipitates.

(b) New metal excluding recycled material.

(c) We continue to process third party concentrate to optimise smelter utilisation, including 38.1 thousand tonnes of cathode produced from purchased concentrate in year-to-date 2021. Purchased and tolled copper concentrates are excluded from reported production figures and production guidance. Sales of cathodes produced from purchased concentrate are included in reported revenues.

(d) Includes gold and silver in intermediate products.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                           Rio                                                                      Full          Full 
                         Tinto          Q4          Q1          Q2          Q3          Q4          Year          Year 
                      interest        2020        2021        2021        2021        2021          2020          2021 
-------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ------------  ------------ 
 
COPPER & GOLD 
(continued) 
Turquoise Hill 
Resources 
Oyu Tolgoi mine (a)        34% 
Mongolia 
Ore Treated ('000 
 tonnes)                             9,594       9,813       9,401       9,336      10,573        40,200        39,124 
Average mill head 
grades: 
  Copper (%)                          0.50        0.56        0.47        0.53        0.46          0.46          0.50 
  Gold (g/t)                          0.41        0.68        0.50        0.63        0.38          0.24          0.54 
  Silver (g/t)                        1.16        1.29        1.19        1.29        1.27          1.18          1.26 
Copper concentrates 
 produced 
 ('000 tonnes)                       190.2       201.9       173.2       191.9       182.7         693.1         749.6 
  Average 
   concentrate 
   grade 
   (% Cu)                             21.9        22.5        21.2        21.9        21.3          21.6          21.7 
Production of 
metals in 
concentrates: 
  Copper in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 tonnes)                      41.6        45.4        36.7        41.9        38.9         149.6         163.0 
  Gold in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 
   ounces)                            87.8       145.7       113.1       130.8        78.6         181.9         468.1 
  Silver in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 ounces)                       231         255         235         249         239           876           977 
Sales of metals in 
concentrates: 
  Copper in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 tonnes)                      37.9        39.0        19.6        46.4        34.4         137.8         139.4 
  Gold in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 
   ounces)                            65.8       110.9        72.6       149.1       102.2         150.0         434.7 
  Silver in 
   concentrates 
   ('000 ounces)                       194         207         106         278         192           760           783 
 

(a) Rio Tinto owns a 33.52% indirect interest in Oyu Tolgoi through its 50.79% interest in Turquoise Hill Resources.

 
                            Rio                                                                     Full          Full 
                          Tinto          Q4          Q1          Q2          Q3          Q4         Year          Year 
                       interest        2020        2021        2021        2021        2021         2020          2021 
-------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  -----------  ------------ 
 
DIAMONDS 
Argyle Diamonds (a)        100% 
Western Australia 
  AK1 ore processed 
   ('000 
   tonnes)                            1,078           -           -           -           -        5,773             - 
  AK1 diamonds 
   produced ('000 
   carats)                            1,893           -           -           -           -       10,945             - 
-------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  -----------  ------------ 
Diavik Diamonds (b)        100% 
Northwest 
Territories, 
Canada 
  Ore processed 
   ('000 tonnes)                        643         632         669         643         596        2,518         2,540 
  Diamonds 
   recovered ('000 
   carats)                            1,517       1,678       1,418       1,390       1,356        6,218         5,843 
 

(a) Rio Tinto's Argyle operations were closed in 2020.

(b) On 17 November 2021, Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Diavik increased from 60% to 100%. Production is reported including this change from 1 November 2021.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                                                                                        Full     Full 
                                  Rio Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4     Year     Year 
                                   interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021     2020     2021 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
 
IRON ORE 
Rio Tinto Iron Ore 
Western Australia 
Pilbara Operations 
Saleable iron ore production 
 ('000 tonnes) 
  Hamersley mines                       (a)  53,316  47,063  47,621  53,041  51,974  210,682  199,699 
  Hamersley - Channar (b)              100%   2,169   2,250   2,712   2,593   3,075    9,175   10,630 
  Hope Downs                            50%  13,142  11,232  11,920  13,000  13,133   49,045   49,284 
  Robe River - Pannawonica 
   (Mesas J and A)                      53%   7,525   6,616   5,830   7,021   6,031   30,295   25,497 
  Robe River - West Angelas             53%   9,809   9,246   7,806   7,652   9,909   34,209   34,613 
Total production ('000 tonnes)               85,961  76,406  75,889  83,306  84,122  333,405  319,724 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Breakdown of total production: 
  Pilbara Blend and SP10 Lump 
   (c)                                       25,888  21,901  21,946  23,617  24,998   94,375   92,463 
  Pilbara Blend and SP10 Fines 
   (c)                                       38,316  34,356  34,743  37,046  38,681  149,947  144,826 
  Robe Valley Lump                            2,574   2,467   2,300   2,686   2,173   10,492    9,626 
  Robe Valley Fines                           4,951   4,149   3,530   4,335   3,857   19,803   15,871 
  Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)                   14,233  13,534  13,369  15,623  14,412   58,789   56,938 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Breakdown of total shipments: 
  Pilbara Blend Lump                         20,155  15,740  15,631  16,710  16,616   77,117   64,697 
  Pilbara Blend Fines                        42,727  35,777  34,607  36,199  31,620  155,533  138,203 
  Robe Valley Lump                            2,351   1,934   1,762   1,814   2,001    8,694    7,512 
  Robe Valley Fines                           5,778   4,532   4,131   4,843   4,221   21,648   17,727 
  Yandicoogina Fines (HIY)                   15,055  14,222  13,640  14,906  14,121   57,749   56,889 
  SP10 Lump (c)                               1,037   2,664   3,748   4,826   4,841    3,879   16,078 
  SP10 Fines (c)                              1,771   2,923   2,817   4,063  10,684    5,951   20,487 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Total shipments ('000 tonnes) 
 (d)                                         88,873  77,791  76,336  83,360  84,104  330,570  321,592 
 
                                                                                        Full     Full 
                                  Rio Tinto      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4     Year     Year 
                                   interest    2020    2021    2021    2021    2021     2020     2021 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
 
Iron Ore Company of Canada              59% 
Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec 
 in Canada 
Saleable iron ore production: 
  Concentrates ('000 tonnes)                  2,208   1,484   1,965   1,411   1,718    8,141    6,578 
  Pellets ('000 tonnes)                       2,457   2,510   2,669   2,273   2,535    9,574    9,986 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
IOC Total production ('000 
 tonnes)                                      4,666   3,993   4,634   3,684   4,254   17,715   16,564 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
Shipments: 
  Concentrates ('000 tonnes)                  1,970   1,735   1,785   1,795   1,684    8,392    7,000 
  Pellets ('000 tonnes)                       2,620   2,515   2,220   2,340   2,914   10,229    9,988 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
IOC Total Shipments ('000 
 tonnes) (d)                                  4,591   4,250   4,005   4,136   4,598   18,621   16,989 
Global Iron Ore Totals 
Iron Ore Production ('000 
 tonnes)                                     90,627  80,400  80,523  86,990  88,375  351,121  336,288 
Iron Ore Shipments ('000 
 tonnes)                                     93,464  82,041  80,341  87,496  88,702  349,190  338,581 
Iron Ore Sales ('000 tonnes) 
 (e)                                         93,016  80,291  81,097  86,542  85,256  348,098  333,185 
-------------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------- 
 

(a) Includes 100% of production from Paraburdoo, Mt Tom Price, Western Turner Syncline, Marandoo, Yandicoogina, Brockman, Nammuldi, Silvergrass and the Eastern Range mines. Whilst Rio Tinto owns 54% of the Eastern Range mine, under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Hamersley Iron manages the operation and is obliged to purchase all mine production from the joint venture and therefore all of the production is included in Rio Tinto's share of production.

(b) Rio Tinto's ownership interest in Channar mine increased from 60% to 100%, following conclusion of its joint venture with Sinosteel Corporation upon reaching planned 290 million tonnes production on 22 October 2020. Historic data is unchanged.

(c) SP10 includes other lower grade products.

(d) Shipments includes material shipped to our portside trading facility in China which may not be sold onwards in the same period.

(e) Include Pilbara and IOC sales adjusted for portside trading movements and third party volumes sold.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

Rio Tinto operational data

 
                                  Rio                                                                Full         Full 
                                Tinto         Q4         Q1         Q2         Q3         Q4         Year         Year 
                             interest       2020       2021       2021       2021       2021         2020         2021 
 
SALT 
Dampier Salt                      68% 
Western Australia 
  Salt production ('000 
   tonnes)                                 1,628      2,064      2,132      2,206      2,152        7,111        8,555 
-------------------------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  -----------  ----------- 
 
TITANIUM DIOXIDE SLAG 
Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium        100% 
Canada and South Africa 
  (Rio Tinto share) (a) 
  Titanium dioxide slag 
   ('000 
   tonnes)                                   272        279        298        209        228        1,120        1,014 
-------------------------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  -----------  ----------- 
 

(a) Quantities comprise 100% of Rio Tinto Fer et Titane and Rio Tinto's 74% interest in Richards Bay Minerals' production. Ilmenite mined in Madagascar is being processed in Canada.

 
 
URANIUM 
Energy Resources of 
Australia 
Ltd 
Ranger mine (a)           86% 
Northern Territory, 
Australia 
  U(3) O(8) 
   Production ('000 
   lbs)                               860           75           -           -           -        3,471             75 
--------------------  -------  ----------  -----------  ----------  ----------  ----------  -----------  ------------- 
 

(a) ERA production data are drummed U(3) O(8) .

ERA ceased processing operations on 8 January 2021, as required by the Ranger Authority.

 
 
 

Rio Tinto percentage interest shown above is at 31 December 2021. The data represents production and sales on a 100% basis unless otherwise stated.

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

RNS may use your IP address to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions, to analyse how you engage with the information contained in this communication, and to share such analysis on an anonymised basis with others as part of our commercial services. For further information about how RNS and the London Stock Exchange use the personal data you provide us, please see our Privacy Policy.

END

DRLSFMEEWEESESF

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 18, 2022 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT)

Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO)
Historical Stock Chart
From Apr 2022 to May 2022 Click Here for more Rio Tinto Charts.
Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO)
Historical Stock Chart
From May 2021 to May 2022 Click Here for more Rio Tinto Charts.