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Rio’s Pilbara operations rake in the money

(Posted on 21/06/18)

In a presentation to investors and analysts in Perth, Rio Tinto showcased its Pilbara operations, a world-class, leading-edge, fully integrated system.

The presenters discussed how Rio Tinto’s iron ore business will continue to deliver superior value by developing greater flexibility across its system of mines, rail and ports in Western Australia, capable of dynamically responding to changes in market and customer demand.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said: “Our strategy is to optimise our Pilbara assets to deliver value for our shareholders. Our iron ore business delivered $7.3bn of free cash flow in 2017 and we will continue to maximise free cash flow by pursuing a value-over-volume approach, built on a portfolio of world-class assets that deliver our premium iron ore product, the Pilbara Blend.

“We are driving productivity improvements right across the business and we continue to leverage considerable value from innovation and new technology. Our pioneering autonomous rail project, AutoHaul, is on schedule to be implemented by the end of the year, and is already delivering benefits to the business through an uplift in rail capacity.

"Removing our bottleneck in rail and increasing flexibility remain a key priority. This work is progressing well and rail and mine capacity should be in line with nameplate port capacity by the end of 2019. As we have said before, we will continue to optimise the system to provide the flexibility to respond to market conditions. However, importantly, capacity is not the same as tonnes shipped. How we use the capacity of our integrated system will be dynamic, in line with a strict value-over-volume approach.

Mr Salisbury added the company continues to benefit from changes in the Chinese steel industry. “The steel industry in China has undergone a significant shift in recent times due to supply-side reforms and environmental policy improvements. We believe these reforms are structural and that our business is well positioned to take advantage of these changes due to robust demand for our high quality products, including the Pilbara Blend.”

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