Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm, said: “The global economy, in particular China, recovered strongly and we are intensely focused on servicing our customers with as much product as we can. However, we faced some challenges in the first half notably at our Pilbara operations, which were impacted by replacement mine tie-ins and materially higher rainfall. Heightened COVID-19 constraints, which resulted in …

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm, said: “The global economy, in particular China, recovered strongly and we are intensely focused on servicing our customers with as much product as we can. However, we faced some challenges in the first half notably at our Pilbara operations, which were impacted by replacement mine tie-ins and materially higher rainfall. Heightened COVID-19 constraints, which resulted in numerous travel restrictions, added further pressure on the business and limited our ability to access additional people, particularly in Western Australia and Mongolia, in order to deliver operational improvements or maintenance initiatives and accelerate projects.

“Safety is our first priority and our performance in this area remains robust in challenging conditions. However, as identified shortly after my appointment, operationally we are not where we want to be. Our first half performance has reaffirmed my belief that we have identified the right priorities to strengthen the business: to become the best operator, strive for impeccable ESG credentials, excel in development and secure a strong social licence. We have made initial progress against our priorities, but a large volume of work remains to make Rio Tinto even stronger, so we can continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society.”

Production* Quarter 2
2021
vs Q2
2020
vs Q1
2021
H1
2021
vs HY
2020
Pilbara iron ore shipments (100% basis) (Mt) 76.3 -12% -2% 154.1 -3%
Pilbara iron ore production (100% basis) (Mt) 75.9 -9% -1% 152.3 -5%
Bauxite (Mt) 13.7 -6% +1% 27.3 -4%
Aluminium (kt) 816 +4% +2% 1,619 +3%
Mined copper (kt) 115.5 -13% -4% 236.1 -11%
Titanium dioxide slag (kt) 298 +14% +7% 577 +4%
IOC iron ore pellets & concentrate (Mt) 2.7 -2% +16% 5.1 -5%
*Rio Tinto share unless otherwise stated

Q2 Operational update

  • Our colleague Nico Swart was tragically killed in a shooting incident whilst driving to work at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa on 24 May. Our sympathies are with Nico’s family and we are offering ongoing support to his family, friends and colleagues.
  • We continue to prioritise the safety of our people and communities as some regions experience a resurgence of COVID-19. We have exceeded 30 months without a fatality on site but our all injury frequency rate (AIFR) of 0.39 has seen a slight increase versus the second quarter of 2020 (0.37), and prior quarter (0.35), which underlines that there is no room for complacency.
  • We expect iron ore shipments to be at the low end of the guidance range which remains subject to COVID-19 disruptions, tie-in and ramp up of brownfield replacement mines and management of cultural heritage. Mined copper and bauxite production is expected to be at the low end of the guidance range. Full year titanium dioxide slag production guidance has been removed as a result of risks around the timing of resumption of operations at RBM in South Africa, due to an escalation in the security situation. We are working with the local and federal governments and police to ensure we can safely resume operations.
  • Pilbara iron ore production of 75.9 million tonnes (100% basis) was 9% lower than the second quarter of 2020 due to above average rainfall in the West Pilbara, shutdowns to enable replacement mines to be tied in, processing plant availability, and cultural heritage management. Shipments of 76.3 million tonnes (100% basis) were 12% lower than the second quarter of 2020 with some additional drawdown of inventories. Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and a tight labour market have further impacted our ability to access experienced contractors and particular skill sets.
  • Bauxite production of 13.7 million tonnes was 6% lower than the second quarter of 2020 due to ongoing system instability following severe wet weather in Eastern Australia in the first quarter.
  • Aluminium production of 0.8 million tonnes was 4% higher than the second quarter of 2020, underpinned by the ISAL smelter in Iceland and the Becancour smelter in Quebec operating at full capacity, and the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia nearing completion of its pot relining cycle.
  • Mined copper production of 115.5 thousand tonnes was 13% lower than the second quarter of 2020, with lower recoveries and throughput at Escondida as a result of the prolonged impact of COVID-19, and a planned relocation of the in-pit crusher at Kennecott in April. On 31 May, an anticipated slope failure occurred in the south east wall of the Bingham Canyon pit at Kennecott. There were no injuries or damage to equipment as the slide was accurately predicted by our geotechnical experts. Mining in the affected area restarted progressively in June. No ore has been sterilised and we expect to recover the material from the slide which is largely copper bearing ore. Mining rates will however be slower due to the size distribution of the material, and therefore some high-grade production scheduled for late 2021 will be deferred to 2022.
  • Titanium dioxide slag production of 298 thousand tonnes was 14% higher than the second quarter of 2020 due to consistent production at the Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Quebec. Following weeks of violent disruptions, our RBM operations have been significantly hampered. As a result, we have declared force majeure, with all operations curtailed.
  • Production of pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) was 2% lower than the second quarter of 2020 due to labour and equipment availability issues impacting product feed. Force majeure declared in April following the fire at the port has been lifted.
  • On 17 June, Peter Cunningham was appointed as Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect. Peter also joined the Rio Tinto Board as an executive director at the same time. On 7 July, we announced the appointment of Isabelle Deschamps who will join on 25 October as Chief Legal Officer & External Affairs, succeeding Barbara Levi.
  • On 4 June, we announced the appointment of Ben Wyatt as a non-executive director of the Rio Tinto Board. Mr Wyatt, an Australian citizen, and former Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister in the Western Australian Government, will join the Board on 1 September 2021.
  • In the second quarter, we entered into four partnerships to progress our work to decarbonise our value chain. These include one with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to study whether hydrogen can replace natural gas in alumina refineries to reduce emissions, and one with POSCO to jointly explore, develop and demonstrate technologies to transition to a low-carbon emission steel value chain.

The full second quarter production results are available here .

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Steve Allen, Rio Tinto’s Group Company Secretary.

LEI: 213800YOEO5OQ72G2R82

Classification: 3.1 Additional regulated information required to be disclosed under the laws of a Member State

Contacts
Please direct all enquiries to media.enquiries@riotinto.com

Media Relations, UK
Illtud Harri
M +44 7920 503 600

David Outhwaite
M +44 7787 597 493

Media Relations, Americas
Matthew Klar
T +1 514 608 4429

Media Relations, Australia
Jonathan Rose
M +61 447 028 913

Matt Chambers
M +61 433 525 739

Jesse Riseborough
M +61 436 653 412

Investor Relations, UK
Menno Sanderse
M: +44 7825 195 178

David Ovington
M +44 7920 010 978

Clare Peever
M +44 7788 967 877

Investor Relations, Australia
Natalie Worley
M +61 409 210 462

Amar Jambaa
M +61 472 865 948

Rio Tinto plc
6 St James’s Square
London SW1Y 4AD
United Kingdom
T +44 20 7781 2000
Registered in England
No. 719885

Rio Tinto Limited
Level 7, 360 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
Australia
T +61 3 9283 3333
Registered in Australia
ABN 96 004 458 404
riotinto.com

Category: General

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Copper Mountain Mining Corporation  is pleased to announce positive results from 48 drill holes, totaling 7,936 metres, drilled on the C6, C1 and C2 targets at its Cameron Copper Project as part of ongoing exploration at the property.  The drill program encountered intercepts of high-grade mineralization, within long, low-grade mineralized envelopes, with lateral continuity between intercepts of up to 1 kilometre. …

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Gold isn't all that glitters in the land down under — silver in Australia is a major industry, and the country is home to both large and small players.

When it comes to precious metals, Australia has long punched above its weight — the nation was born riding the wave of a gold rush.

Gold isn't all that glitters through — Australia is also a major global producer of silver. It's among the 10 top producers, and was ranked seventh in 2020, with 1,300 tonnes coming from the many operational mines in the country. By comparison, the world's top producer, Mexico, produced 6,300 tonnes that same year.

Other key players in the silver market are Peru, China and Russia, which produce more silver than Australia, and the US, Argentina and Bolivia, which produce less.


Australia is sitting on quite a lot of the precious metal, with the world's second largest reserves, behind only Peru.

According to Geoscience Australia, one of the country's first mines was a silver-lead mine near Adelaide. Since then, the entire continent has been combed over with a fine-toothed comb, with deposits identified in every state and territory and active mines in every jurisdiction but one (Victoria).

Overall, Australia is well explored when it comes to silver, and since the mid-1800s it's had a constant stream of silver production. Aside from that, the country boasts metals-processing facilities in South Australia that separate the precious metal from its commonly mined counterpart metals, lead and zinc.

Silver companies in Australia

Those looking at the Australian silver market have options. There are plenty of big players with interests in Australian silver, and many smaller players for investors to consider researching too.

Most silver comes from mines dedicated to other metals — Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa in Queensland produces mainly copper, zinc and lead, but silver is separated by the company's integrated processing streams. Glencore also operates the McArthur mine in the Northern Territory, which is primarily zinc, but between its copper and zinc assets, Glencore produced 7,404,000 ounces of silver in Australia in 2020 — over 200 tonnes.

Elsewhere, BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) produces a lot of silver as well at the Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Perhaps best known for the production of uranium and copper, it also yields significant silver resources to the tune of 984,000 ounces in 2020 (or almost 28 tonnes).

According to Geoscience Australia data from 2016, over 20 mines in Australia produced silver in that year, while there are dozens of other resources identified in each state.

A primary producer of silver is the Cannington mine in Queensland, where South32 (ASX:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF), a company that was spun off from BHP in 2015, mines silver and lead. Cannington is a big one, producing 11,792,000 ounces in 2020, or 334 tonnes of silver.

Tasmania boasts the Rosebery mine, which has seen 85 years of continuous operations and is currently owned by MMG (ASX:MMG,HKEX:1208). Rosebery, like all the others here, is polymetallic, and besides silver also produces copper, zinc, lead and gold. MMG also has the Dugald River mine in Queensland which also produced silver.

Getting into smaller companies, there are those like New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) which restarted the Century mine in the Northern Territory for zinc and silver.

The future of silver in Australia

So, you get the picture — there's a lot of silver to be mined in Australia by way of mining everything else.

It's worth noting that because silver operates both as a precious and an industrial metal, and is mined most often alongside base metals, it can be pulled in many directions. However, it traditionally follows (and lags behind) its precious metal sibling, gold, making it a valuable investment commodity to keep an eye on.

Looking forward, the future of the commodity in the land down under — especially given Australia's significant reserves and operator diversity — is as bright as you'd like it, and depends on what investors are most interested in, given the by-product nature of the metal.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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