Rio cuts copper output target after problems at giant mines – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – April 20, 2017)

Rio Tinto has cut production guidance for copper by 12 per cent following problems at two giant mines where it is involved in joint ventures, and reported lower than expected output from its flagship iron ore business because of bad weather.

The Anglo Australian mining group had previously predicted it would mine between 525,000 and 665,000 tonnes of copper this year.

But in a trading update late on Wednesday, Rio said it now thinks it will produce between 500,000 and 550,000 tonnes because of supply disruptions at the world’s two biggest copper mines — Escondida in Chile and Grasberg in Indonesia.

Output at Escondida — operated by BHP Billiton and in which Rio has a 30 per cent stake — was hit by a 43-day strike that ended last month.

Meanwhile, production at Grasberg has been affected by a dispute between the Indonesian government and Freeport-McMoRan, the operator of the mine, in which Rio has a 40 per cent stake.

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