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25 January, 2021

Train breakdown derails Rio Tinto's end-of-year results

A TRAIN breakdown was responsible for a major drop in bauxite production in the final quarter of 2020, Rio Tinto said last week.


The mining company produced slightly more bauxite in 2020 than in 2019, but was down 12 per cent in the final quarter – largely due to the locomotive breakdown in Weipa that impacted rail movement between the Andoom mine and ship loader.

In Weipa, the overall bauxite output was marginally down from 2019.

Rio Tinto said bauxite production of 56.1 million tonnes was 2 per cent higher than 2019.

“We have delivered a strong safety and operational performance in the face of the significant global challenges of COVID-19,” new Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said.

“Our 2020 performance reflects the resilience of the business, and the commitment and flexibility of our employees, customers, communities and host governments.

“We are working to restore trust with the PKKP people.

“Some important progress has been made as set out in the joint statement issued in December following a meeting between the PKKP and Rio Tinto boards.

“We are also developing additional measures to strengthen our partnerships with Traditional Owners, including a commitment to modernise and improve agreements, particularly in the Pilbara.

“More broadly, we are determined to improve Rio Tinto’s approach to stakeholder engagement globally by embedding a more inclusive approach that strengthens our overall thinking, decision-making and performance.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Weipa operations acting general manager Dan Kelleher.

“I have been really pleased with our strong 2020 safety and production performance in the face of COVID-19 and despite a loco breakdown in the fourth quarter,” he said last week.

“The hard work and combined effort of everyone at Weipa operations has enabled us to achieve an overall successful and productive year.”


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