Rio Tinto Takes Quebec UGS Facility Offline

Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium (RTIT) of England has reported net earnings of US$397 million on gross revenue of US$2.32 billion in 2012 compared with US$151 million on revenue of US$1.58 billion in 2011. The business benefited from higher prices for titanium dioxide feedstocks and borates and the increase in ownership of Richards Bay Minerals. From July major players announced downgraded sales expectations as demand weakened. Inventory levels throughout titanium dioxide and zircon supply chains increased and remain very high. In response to the weak demand and in order to reduce operating costs, RTIT is taking action at a number of its operations. Richards Bay will place its zircon and rutile processing operations on care and maintenance, while maintaining production at the core ilmenite mining and smelting operations. In addition, Rio Tinto Fer et Titane in Quebec is taking its UGS production facility offline. RTIT has also suspended pre-feasibility studies for a project in Canada and Madagascar. The Zuti South project in South Africa, the exploration program in Mozambique and the investments to extend asset lives in Canada to 2050 continue. Rio Tinto Minerals generated net earnings of US$140 million on revenue of US$656 million versus US$144 million on revenue of US$901 million. The decrease in revenue reflects the sale of Luzenac in 2011. Dampier Salt, 68.4%-owned by Rio Tinto, had a net loss of US$4 million in 2012 on revenue of US$416 million compared with a net loss of US$1 million on revenue of US$434 million in 2011. Iluka Resources Ltd of Australia has announced further measures to curtail production and reduce both production and non-production costs in 2013. The measures include the idling of its Eneabba mining operation (ilmenite, zircon, and rutile production) and its Tutunup South mine (ilmenite) in Western Australia. Also in Western Australia, the company plans the continued idling of synthetic rutile kiln 3 in Narngulu, the idling of synthetic rutile kiln 2 in Capel, and a reduction in the operating rate of its separation plant in Narngulu.

Volume 27 issue 4

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