Yarwun refinery workers achieve record production for 2016

WORKERS at Yarwun's Rio Tinto refinery achieved record production in 2016, the company's fourth quarter report reveals.

The alumina sector production increased five per cent compared with 2015, with 2,104,000 tonnes produced.

The Rio Tinto Yarwun plant.
The Rio Tinto Yarwun plant. Gladstone Observer

In 2016 Rio Tinto's alumina refineries which include one at Yarwun and another at Gove, produced 8,192,000 tonnes.

"We have delivered strong operational performance in 2016 underpinned by our drive for efficiency and maximising cash flow," Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said.

"Our disciplined approach remains in place in 2017, with the continued focus on productivity, cost reduction and commercial excellence.

"This will ensure that we continue to deliver value for our shareholders."

The company credits the modest increase in alumina production to, "operational improvements driving record production at the Yarwun refinery".

The refinery had a year-on-year production increase of 11%.

It's been a year filled with changes and pressures from commodity prices and improvements to cash flow.

In Rio Tinto's half yearly report Mr Jacques said the company had generated net cash from operating activities of $3.2 billion.

It had an underlying earning of $1.6 billion.

Rio Tinto's share of production in 2017 is expected to be 48 to 50 million tonnes of bauxite, 8.to 8.2 million tonnes of alumina and 3.5 to 3.7 million tonnes of aluminium.

"We focus on delivering value to shareholders," Mr Jacques said in the half yearly report.

"This focus is unrelenting, with further cost reductions achieved in the half and EBITDA margins of 33%.

"With our strong operating cash flows, tight control over capital expenditure and progress on divestments, the balance sheet remains robust. Having paid the 2015 final dividend of $1.9 billion in April 2016, we reduced net debt during the half to $12.9 billion."

"Our balance sheet strength and Tier 1 assets provide a stable foundation in these uncertain and volatile markets, which is fundamental in a cyclical and capital-intensive industry.

"We will generate cash at every opportunity, which we will then allocate in a disciplined way to deliver returns to shareholders, while also investing in compelling growth."