RIO readies treason mine


RIO has its Q4 production update out. Anybody not alarmed by it for the future does not know what they are doing.

  • Pilbara operations produced 331.5 million tonnes (100% basis) of iron ore, 2% higher than 2022. Improved productivity, supported by ongoing implementation of the Safe Production System, and the ramp up of Gudai-Darri to its nameplate capacity of 43 million tonnes per annum, within 12 months of commissioning, more than offset mine depletion. Shipments were 331.8 million tonnes (100% basis), 3% higher (+10 million tonnes) than 2022 and the second highest on record, with healthy inventory positions at year-end.
  • On 18 October, we announced plans to increase iron ore production capacity at Gudai-Darri by 7 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes a year through incremental productivity gains, at a cost of around $70 million. The capacity increase is subject to environmental, heritage and other relevant approvals.
  • Expectations for Pilbara iron ore shipments in 2024 remain at 323 to 338 million tonnes, unchanged since October 2023. SP10 levels are expected to remain elevated until replacement projects are delivered. Levels are dependent on the timing of approvals for planned mining areas, including heritage clearances.
  • Guidance for 2023 Pilbara iron ore unit cash costs is unchanged at the lower half of our $21.0 to $22.5 per tonne range (based on an average actual A$:US$ exchange rate for 2023 of 0.66).

I wonder if we will ever see Pilbara 360? Probably not. Because it will be completed in Simandou instead.


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About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.