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Rio Tinto HCC output falls slightly y/y

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World Coal,

Rio Tinto’s 2Q16 hard coking coal production was steady y/y and 4% higher than 4Q15, according to the company’s latest quarterly production report.

The company’s produces hard coking coal from two mines in the Bowen Basin, Queensland: the Hail Creek opencast mine and Kestral underground mine. Rio Tinto owns 82% of Hail Creek with joint venture partners Nippon Steel Australia, Marubeni Coal and Sumisho Coal Development. It owns Kestral mine with Mitsui Ketral Coal Investment, a subsidiary of Japanese trading house, Mitsui.

Hail Creek produced 1.22 million t of hard coking coal in 1Q16 – up from 1.13 million t in the previous quarter and 1.18 million t in 1Q15. Overall, the mine produced 5.01 million t of hard coking last year for Rio Tinto.

Kestral mine production of hard coking coal fell slightly to 758 000 t in 1Q16 – down from 766 000 t in 4Q15 and 813 000 t in 1Q15. Overall, hard coking coal production for the quarter stood at 1.98 million t – up on the previous quarter’s 1.90 million t but down slightly from 2.00 million t y/y.

Production of semi-soft coking, however, jumped by 31% y/y and 47% on 4Q15, however, as a result of mine production sequencing at Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth. Rio Tinto produces semi-soft coking coal from operations in New South Wales.

The company also completed the restructuring of its ownership of its New South Wales assets, taking full ownership of Coal & Allied from its joint-venture partner, Mitsubishi. The Japanese company took a direct 32.4% direct stake in Hunter Valley operations as part of the restructuring, leaving Rio Tinto’s stake in Hunter Valley Operations, Mount Thorley and Warkworth at 67.6%, 80% and 55.57% respectively.

Looking ahead, the company’s share of production is unchanged and is expected to be 7 – 8 million t of hard coking coal and 3.3 – 3.9 million t of semi-soft coking coal.

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