RIO ushers in iron more

From RIO’s freshly minted Dec QTR production report:

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

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.

Let’s call it a base case of 10mt of output growth. With Vale coming on, and FMG with another 20mt by year-end, we’re going to see another 40-50mt plus of volumes through H2’22.

That’s price material.

Houses and Holes

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