Bad weather which caused flooding and port closures across Rio Tinto’s Pilbara network have caused only minimal disruption to production and shipping.
Figures released in the mining giant’s quarterly report this morning show it produced 77.2 million tonnes of iron ore in the March quarter, down 10 per cent on the previous quarter and 3 per cent on the previously corresponding quarter.
Iron ore shipments of 76.7 million tonnes were down 13 per cent on the previous quarter and in-line with the previous corresponding quarter.
Rio noted both production and sales had been affected by significant weather disruptions.
Heavy rainfall had caused flooding across several sites including the rail network, along with the suspension of ship loading on a number of occasions.
However it said all operations across the mine and infrastructure network had recovered and were operating to plan.
Despite the weather disruptions, Rio reiterated its full-year 2017 shipping guidance of 330-340 million tonnes.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said despite challenging weather conditions at the company’s WA and Queensland operations, it had delivered solid production in the first quarter of 2017.
“Our strategy is unchanged. Our number one priority is safety,” he said.
“We maintain our disciplined approach to capital management and maximising cashflow, with a focus on managing costs and enhancing productivity across the business.
“These actions support the delivery of strong cash returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”