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Rio Tinto operations in good shape

Rio Tinto CEO
Tom Albanese
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 April 2010 – Chief executive Tom Albanese of Rio Tinto “’ one of the world’s leading mining and exploration companies “’ says most of the company’s  operations in the first quarter of 2010 continued to run at capacity, and the long term outlook remains very strong.

Referring to Rio Tinto’s first quarter operations review, he pointed out that Chinese demand had grown strongly and there was some recovery in OECD markets. “But we are still cautious about short term volatility,” he added. “Nevertheless, we are now ramping up our growth projects with sustained investment in our iron ore business,” he said.

The review revealed that Rio Tinto’s global iron ore production was up 39%compared with the first quarter of 2009, when heavy rains disrupted operations. Mined copper production was down 16 %, primarily due to lower grades at Kennecott Utah Copper and Grasberg.

The report added that mined gold and molybdenum production were 12%and 58% higher than the first quarter of 2009, mainly attributable to higher grades at Kennecott Utah Copper.

Bauxite production had increased 18% in line with improving market demand; Australian hard coking coal production was up 35%; and its thermal coal production was down eight% on the same period. Uranium production was down 20% on the first quarter of 2009 due to lower grades at ERA and Rössing.