May 17, 2020

Rio Tinto scales back, lowers iron ore guidance for 2015

Rio Tinto
Iron ore
2 min
Rio Tinto is scaling back on its 2015 iron ore guidance, cutting exports from 350 million tons to 340 million tons due to weather conditions in the outback.
Mining powerhouse Rio Tinto is scaling back on its 2015 iron ore guidance, cutting exports from 350 million tons to 340 million tons due to weather cond...

Mining powerhouse Rio Tinto is scaling back on its 2015 iron ore guidance, cutting exports from 350 million tons to 340 million tons due to weather conditions in the outback.

The Anglo-Australian miner said "uncharacteristically severe weather" was to blame for the reduction as it expects to ship less iron ore than initially thought from its networks of mines in northwest Australia this year.

• Related content: Top 10 Iron ore producers based on 2015 guidance

"Heavy inland rains reduced truck utilization, resulting in lost production at the mines and impacting [on] the ability to rail planned tons [to port]," the company said last week.

“Around seven million tons of shipping capacity was lost directly at the ports due to uncharacteristically severe weather.”

Despite the reduction, Rio produced 79.7 million tons of iron ore and shipped 81.4 million tons in the June quarter.

Rio Tinto, the world’s lowest-cost producer of iron ore, said its ultimate goal is to produce 360 million tons annually from Western Australia’s Pilbara region, which could occur sooner than thought. The company said the infrastructure expansion to facilitate the increased capacity in Pilbara has now been completed.

"Our combination of world-class assets, financial strength and operating and commercial excellence provides a sound base to continue to generate sustainable returns for our shareholders," the company said in a statement.

“The focus is now to ramp up the new equipment to full capacity and generate maximum value from the integrated system.”

• Related content: Report: Rio Tinto ready to talk M&A deals

To achieve its new guidance set last week, Rio Tinto will need to accelerate its export rate in the second half of 2015. According to Citi analyst Clarke Wilkins, it will be a challenge.

"It will still be a challenge for them to achieve guidance for the second half of the year but they should be able to get there," he said.

In July, prices for iron ore dipped into the danger zone for most miners, falling below $50 a ton.

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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