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Rio Tinto reports coal production for 1Q17

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World Coal,

Rio Tinto has reported its production results for the first quarter of 2017.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said: “Despite challenging weather conditions at our West Australian and Queensland operations, we delivered solid production in the first quarter of 2017. Our strategy is unchanged. Our number one priority is safety. We maintain our disciplined approach to capital management and maximising cash flow, with a focus on managing costs and enhancing productivity across the business. These actions support the delivery of strong cash returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”

The mining giant reported hard coking coal production to be 20% below 1Q16 production due to the timing of the longwall changeover at Kestrel as well as processing rates at Hail Creek. Rio expects damage to rail lines caused by Cyclone Debbie in Queensland to impact the timing, and potentially volume, of shipments from Hail Creek over the course of the year. Kestrel, while impacted, is not expected to experience significant sales disruption. At this stage, guidance for coking coal remains unchanged.

1Q17 semi-soft coking coal production was 18% lower than the same quarter of 2016, reflecting mine production sequencing at Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) and Mount Thorley Warkworth.

Thermal coal production was 11% higher than the same quarter of 2016, as HVO benefited from higher productivity.

On 24 January, Rio Tinto announced that it had reached a binding agreement for its sale of Coal & Allied to Yancoal Australia for up to US$2.45 billion. The sale is subject to certain conditions being satisfied, and is expected to complete in the second half of 2017. Yancoal announced receipt of FIRB approval on 13 April 2017.

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