Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto expects its Pilbara iron ore output to remain stable at 325-340mn mt in 2021. However, it has lowered its annual mined copper guidance to 500,000-550,000mt in 2021, down by 20,000mt over the 2020 guidance. The company’s aluminum guidance for 2021 remains flat at 3.1-3.3mn mt.
The group produced 333.4mn mt of iron ore in Pilbara during 2020, up by 2pc from 2019. Iron ore shipments for the full year increased by 1pc to 330mn mt on an annual basis. During the year, pellet production at Rio’s subsidiary, Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), fell by 1pc over the prior-year period to 10.4mn mt due to unplanned maintenance in the second half of 2020.
The company’s aluminum output remained flat from 2019 at 3.18mn mt, buoyed by higher volumes from the upgraded Becancour smelter in Quebec, which offset reduced output from Tiwai Point in Zealand. Meanwhile, mined copper production fell by 9pc to 527,900mt in 2020.
Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations produced 86mn mt of iron ore in the last quarter of 2020, up by 3pc over the same period last year. Sales also increased by 2pc to 88.9mn mt in the same period. Pellet production at IOC rose by 7pc in Q4 to 2.7mn mt.
In the last quarter, the miner’s aluminum output climbed by 4pc against Q4 2019 to 815,000mt. On the other hand, copper volumes from declined 4pc to 132,500mt due to lower grades from its Kennecott mine.