• SYDNEY, AAP – Rio Tinto’s iron ore production in the West Australia Pilbara has fallen after wet weather and labour shortages impacted output.But the two per cent decline in the first quarter to 76.4 million tonnes, from the same period last year, won’t impact the resources giant’s optimistic full-year outlook.

    “We achieved an overall solid operating performance in the first quarter,” new CEO Jakob Stausholm said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Iron ore shipments in the 2021 March quarter rose seven per cent 77.8 million tonnes.

    But compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, both production and shipments of iron ore were down by more than 10 per cent.

    Rio Tinto also restated its commitment to being part of a global low carbon future.

    “The commodities we produce are essential to this transition and cannot be substituted in many important applications,” it said.

    This includes lithium which is used in batteries, power cells and computing and mobile equipment.

    Rio Tinto wants to set up a lithium production plant to recover the mineral from waste piles.

    Meanwhile, Rio Tinto is looking forward to “robust” global economic growth in the near term driven by high government spending, low interest rates and higher vaccination rates.