The Rio Tinto Ltd [ASX:RIO] share price was slightly down today after releasing their first quarter production results.
Rio Tinto hit by weather and labour shortages
For the first quarter of 2021, Rio Tinto shipped 77.8 metric tonnes, up 7% from the first quarter in 2020. However, this was 12% down from the previous quarter.
Production was also down 2% from the same quarter last year. This was mainly because they struggled with bad weather in the mines that lasted till February, and with finding workers. Tropical Cyclone Seroja also had an impact on both mine and port operations in April.
At the same time, copper production was 9% lower than in 2020 at 120.5 kt.
Rio Tinto took advantage of the announcement to say they’ve forged two new partnerships to move the decarbonisation of their value chain forward. As they said:
‘Together with Paul Wurth S.A. and SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co., we are exploring the viability of transforming iron ore pellets into low-carbon hot briquetted iron, a low-carbon steel feedstock, using green hydrogen generated from hydro-electricity in Canada. At our Boron site in California, we are exploring the deployment of Heliogen’s breakthrough solar technology which will use heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine’s industrial processes.’
What could happen next to the RIO Share Price?
Even with the weather and labour challenges, Rio Tinto said that they are still on track to achieve their guidance. Rio Tinto expects to ship 325–340 metric tonnes in 2021.
But there are challenges. Rio Tinto cautioned that maintaining guidance unchanged will depend on several factors, such as weather and market conditions along with replacement mine capacity.
At time of writing shares were trading at $120.79, up 81% from this time last year. Iron ore prices have been boosting higher, mainly because of supply issues from Brazil’s Vale. Iron ore prices were trading at US$181.80 per tonne on Monday.
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