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Rio Tinto Alcan updates on aluminium production

Friday, Apr 19, 2013

Bauxite and alumina;

Rio Tinto Alcan’s bauxite production was 10% higher than the same quarter of 2012 driven by higher volumes at Weipa in line with increased bauxite requirements from the expanded Yarwun refinery and increased third party demand. When compared with the Q4 of 2012 production was down by twelve per cent due to weather events in Queensland.

Rio Tinto Alcan’s alumina production was flat compared with the same quarter of 2012 with greater alumina refining capacity at Yarwun offsetting the impact of ex tropical cyclone Oswald at both refineries in Queensland. This inclement weather led to an 18% drop in volumes compared with the Q4 of 2012. Both refineries recovered from the weather disruption reaching close to planned capacity by the end of the quarter.

During the quarter, Rio Tinto announced that Pacific Aluminum’s Gove alumina refinery would continue operating as planning, approvals and delivery of the gas to Gove project progresses. This decision followed a commitment from the Northern Territory Government to release a portion of its contracted gas for on sale to Gove. A number of important steps remain to deliver gas to Gove.

Pacific Aluminum’s alumina production was ten per cent lower than the same quarter of 2012. This followed the shutdown of one of three digestion stages at Gove in late February after inspections identified concerns about the weld integrity on some heat exchangers. These will be refurbished or replaced to bring the digestion stage back on line by the end of the fourth quarter.

The temporary shutdown is expected to reduce full year alumina production by 700,000 tonnes compared with 2012. Pacific Aluminum’s full year bauxite production is expected to be in line with 2012: bauxite exports will be increased to help offset the financial impact of reduced alumina production.


Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminium production was 14% higher than the same quarter of 2012, reflecting the resolution of the lockout at Alma and the power outage at Shawinigan. Production at Alma continued to ramp up and the smelter operated at close to capacity throughout the quarter.

2013 production guidance;

In 2013, Rio Tinto Alcan’s share of bauxite, alumina and aluminium production is expected to be 33 million tonnes, 7.8 million tonnes and 2.5 million tonnes respectively. These numbers exclude Pacific Aluminium and Other aluminium assets that have been identified for divestment or closure.

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