Australian miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue post record iron ore shipments as China industrial recovery continues – by Su-Lin Tan (South China Morning Post – July 31 2020)

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have joined BHP Group in reporting record shipments of iron ore, the bulk of it to China, as an infrastructure and property construction boom in the world’s second largest economy drives a rebound in steel production.

The companies have reported record earnings on the back of the iron ore shipments, even though exports of other minerals like aluminium and copper remain in the doldrums as the coronavirus pandemic saps global demand.

Australia’s record iron ore exports to China, combined with a surge in shipments of coking and thermal coal, indicate trade in the key industrial ingredients has not suffered because of a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Rio Tinto reported on Thursday its iron ore shipments to China in the first half of the year rose 3 per cent compared to the same period a year-earlier.

This pushed earnings up 2 per cent and allowed the Anglo-Australian miner to promise a US$2.5 billion dividend payout for shareholders.

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