Thermal and hard coking coal prices declined in 2016 first half, averaging $US51 and $84 per tonne, respectively, while thermal coal revenues of $611 million in the 2016 first half were down on the $769 million for the first half of 2015.
Gross revenues for Rio Tinto Coal Australia was $1.1 billion for the 2016 first half compared with $1.4 billion for the previous corresponding period while net earnings were $30 million compared to $29 million previously.
Hard coking coal production for 2016 first half was 8% lower than the 2015 first half primarily due to the timing of the longwall changeover at the Kestrel mine in Queensland.
Semi-soft coking coal production reflects the Coal & Allied restructure in early 2016 and mine production sequencing at Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth in New South Wales. That led to 8% higher production for the first half of 2016 than the first half of 2015.
Thermal coal production for the first half was broadly in line with the same period last year.
On September 30 2015, Rio Tinto reached a binding agreement for the sale of its interest in the Bengalla Joint Venture to New Hope Corporation.
The sale completed on March 1 for $617 million.
On January 27, Rio Tinto announced it had reached a binding agreement for the sale of its Mount Pleasant thermal coal assets to MACH Energy Australia $224 million plus royalties.
The conditions precedent of the sale have been met and the sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.
In 2016, Rio Tinto’s share of production is expected to be 17-18 million tonnes of thermal coal, 3.3-3.9Mt of semi-soft coking coal and 7-8Mt of hard coking coal.