Rio Tinto Plc.
) reported improved first-quarter 2013 production data on Apr 16.
Despite seasonal instability over the last year resulting
especially from cyclones, this processor of mineral resources was
able to operate well enough to deliver better production.
Rio saw a year-over-year increase in production across most of
its business segments including aluminium, bauxite, thermal coal,
mined coal, iron ore, uranium and salt. However, products like
alumina, diamonds and gold experienced a year-over-year
Rio's iron ore shipments increased 7.0% year over year,
whereas iron ore production moved up 4.0% in the quarter ending
March 2013. This was due to de-bottlenecking and productivity
improvements in the company's Australian operations, Pilbara,
which helped Rio overcome the disruptions caused by the
Also, Rio's initiative to increase the Pilbara production
capacity to 290 million tonnes per year seems to be in a positive
direction, and it expects to produce the estimated yield in the
third quarter of 2013.
Kennecott Utah Copper mine significantly increased its copper
production in the quarter, compared with the year-ago quarter.
However, the wall slide experienced at the Kennecott Utah
Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine has turned out to be a major
hindrance to its future production expectations. In view of the
same, Rio has reduced the mine's expected mined copper production
by 125,000 tonnes to 540,000 tonnes in 2013. Likewise, the
expected production for refined copper is also reduced by 100,000
tonnes to 205,000 tonnes in 2013.
Rio has a number of projects which are currently either
underway or have recently started operations. These projects are
scattered over regions such as Canada, Namibia, Australia, USA,
Chile and Uzbekistan, to name a few. We expect Rio to increase
its production in the coming quarters through the completion of
its planned strategic moves.
Rio currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other
stocks worth a look in the mining industry are
); carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy); whereas
), carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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