Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (in which Rio Tinto has a 65% interest) produces both hard coking and thermal coal out of its Benga mine in the Tete province.
Rio Tinto began commercial production from the Benga mine in June last year. It is still in ramp-up phase, having produced 460,000 tons of coal last year and about 220,000 metric tons of coal in the first quarter of this year.
This quarter, the mine produced 143,000t of hard coking coal, a 28% increase on last quarter and 132,000t of thermal coal, an increase of 21%.
The data is not comparable to the same period last year because it was not in production then.
Hard coking coal production in Australia was 12% lower than the second quarter of 2012, largely as a result of the planned shutdown of the Kestrel Mine coal-handling preparation plant for upgrade works.
Australian thermal coal production in the second quarter increased by 22 per cent compared with
2012, driven by a 67% rise in production at Clermont as well as increased production at sites in the Hunter Valley following brownfield expansions and ongoing work to improve the efficiency and productivity of operations, including performance of the load and haul fleets.
Rio said in the quarterly update that Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique continued to evaluate other projects in the region, amid speculation that the mining titan might offload the Benga mine.
Rio’s total global hard coking coal production was 1.9Mt, semi-soft coking coal was 1.1Mt and thermal coal was 6Mt. All of these production values were higher than the first quarter.
For a full analysis of Rio Tinto’s Australian coal operation results for the quarter, return to ILN tomorrow.