Labor Shortages And Delays, Rio Tinto Predicted Lower 2022 Iron Ore Exports

The Gudai-Darri project’s new greenfields mine has been delayed, resulting…

The Gudai-Darri project’s new greenfields mine has been delayed, resulting in a somewhat weaker-than-expected iron ore shipping prediction from Rio Tinto on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the world’s largest iron ore producer, it aims to export between 320 and 335 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore out of the Pilbara area in Western Australia in the year 2022.  According to the company, it transported 321.6 million metric tons of the raw material for manufacturing steel last year.

Raw resources such as iron ore have seen their prices almost halve since they reached their high in May of last year due to the downturn in the construction industry.  China’s heavily indebted real estate sector is now in peril due to the recession.  Lower iron ore exports from the Pilbara area in Western Australia were also a consequence of labor shortages due to the protracted pandemic-led interstate border closures.

Rio Tinto said it was “encouraged” by 2022’s growth prospects but warned that geopolitical tensions and rising covid-19 cases might negatively impact.  “Guidance assumes the development of the pandemic does not lead to government-imposed limitations and widespread prolonged cases… which might result in a substantial percentage of our production key staff and contractor base being unable to work,” Rio said in a statement.

As part of the business’s efforts to decarbonize the value chain for goods, including green steel, the company announced many agreements in the fourth quarter.  Rio has also acquired the Rincon lithium project in Argentina.  Due to delays in accepting the Exploitation Field Licence (EFL), which is a condition for publishing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and beginning the consultation process, the business is modifying development schedules at the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia.  The sale of the vehicles will not start until at least 2027 if all goes according to plan and all essential licenses and certifications are obtained.

RTSPS (Rio Tinto Safe Production System) was deployed at five test locations this year to ensure the system’s long-term sustainability.  The firm says that the Kennecott concentrator has produced significant benefits compared to the prior year’s performance in the first year of installation.  COVID-19 restrictions will limit the scope of the following 2022 program.  Still, it is expected to be much more ambitious, with up to 30 RTSPS installations at 15 locations and up to 80 quick improvement initiatives to reduce specific bottlenecks.  Protests by environmental organizations in Serbia have prompted the multinational mining company to halt comparable activity in western Serbia, where the Rincon lithium project is located.

The world’s largest iron ore producer delivered 84.1 Mt of the commodity in the three months ended December 31, about in line with a UBS prediction of 84 Mt, but down from 88.9 Mt a year earlier.

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