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Rio Tinto coal production increases in Q1 2015.

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World Coal,

Rio Tinto has released its first quarter production results. Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto chief executive, said, “we continue to drive efficiency in all aspects of our business, which is reflected in our solid production performance during the first quarter. By making best use of our high quality assets, low cost base and operating and commercial capability our aim is to protect our margins in the face of declining prices and maximise returns for shareholders throughout the cycle.”

Hard metallurgical coal production was 10% higher than the first quarter of 2014. This is proposed to be a result of improved production rates at Kestrel South as the longwall ramps up. Hard metallurgical coal production was 22% higher than the fourth quarter of 2014 which included a longwall panel changeover. Semi-soft metallurgical coal production was 23% higher than the fourth quarter of 2014 reflecting mine production sequencing.

Thermal coal production was 5% higher than the first quarter of 2014. This is stated to be mainly due to increased tonnage at Hail Creek where production from a processing plant by-product stream was prioritised in order to deliver increased margins in present market conditions.

In 2015, Rio Tinto’s share of production is expected to be 7.1 – 8.1 million t of hard metallurgical coal, 3 – 3.4 million t of semi-soft metallurgical coal and 18 to 19 million t of thermal coal.

Adapted from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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