RIO.L - Rio Tinto Group

LSE - LSE Delayed Price. Currency in GBp
4,470.00
-49.00 (-1.08%)
At close: 4:39PM BST
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Performance Outlook
  • Short Term
    2W - 6W
  • Mid Term
    6W - 9M
  • Long Term
    9M+
Previous Close4,519.00
Open4,492.00
Bid4,464.00 x 0
Ask4,466.00 x 0
Day's Range4,457.50 - 4,522.00
52 Week Range2,954.00 - 5,039.00
Volume2,023,555
Avg. Volume4,152,549
Market Cap74.688B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.83
PE Ratio (TTM)5.61
EPS (TTM)797.40
Earnings DateFeb 26, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield3.01 (6.66%)
Ex-Dividend DateMar 05, 2020
1y Target Est53.70
Fair Value is the appropriate price for the shares of a company, based on its earnings and growth rate also interpreted as when P/E Ratio = Growth Rate. Estimated return represents the projected annual return you might expect after purchasing shares in the company and holding them over the default time horizon of 5 years, based on the EPS growth rate that we have projected.
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    • Blasts at Ancient Aboriginal Site Expose Widening ESG Frontline
      Bloomberg

      Blasts at Ancient Aboriginal Site Expose Widening ESG Frontline

      (Bloomberg) -- Explosions that damaged a 40,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site at a Rio Tinto Group iron ore mine in Australia are focusing investor concern on the growing reputational risk companies face from social issues, widening the advocacy battlefront beyond climate change and governance.The world’s No. 2 miner is being challenged by shareholders over its decision to carry out new blasting on May 24 for production at its Brockman 4 mine in Western Australia. While the explosions were authorized under a 2013 decision by the state government, the incident has sparked widespread controversy.“It raises the question about, what is legal versus what is right? And that’s something that companies and also the investment community is under increasing pressure to consider,” said Danielle Welsh-Rose, ESG investment director for Asia-Pacific at Aberdeen Standard Investments, which holds Rio shares and manages about $645 billion in global assets.“Investors are already more focused on human rights and social issues than they have been in the past, so there’s definitely scope for something like this to trigger an investor response,” she said.They also are wielding increasing influence in markets. Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund is doubling down in its responsible investment strategy, recently excluding Brazilian iron-ore giant Vale SA in line with its rules on environmental damage, and utility Eletrobras SA, citing the risk of human rights violations, including increased pressure on indigenous lands.Aberdeen has sought more information from Rio on the incident at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region. Two damaged rock-shelters at the site may have been occupied by humans as long as 46,000 years ago, according to the Australian Archaeological Association Inc.Rio was reviewing its plans for the Juukan Gorge and will launch a comprehensive review of its broader heritage approach, iron ore CEO Chris Salisbury said Sunday, apologizing to the traditional landowners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation. “We are sorry for the distress we have caused,” he said. The landowners, who recognized Rio had complied with its legal obligations, said May 25 that they were first advised on May 15 about the blasting.The company said May 27 it also was sorry that the recently expressed concerns of the traditional owners had not arisen through the engagements that had taken place over many years under the agreement that governs its operations on their country. Rio had been informed on numerous occasions of the land’s importance and the community’s preference for keeping the shelters intact, the PKKPAC said in a statement May 30.Debby Blakey, CEO of the Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia, an industry pension fund that manages more than A$55 billion ($37 billion), has also written to the London-based producer seeking further explanation.“If we show our dismay, and show the company, and expect a higher bar -- and quite honestly expect them to do what they say they’re going to do in terms of their reconciliation action plan themselves -- I think other companies will be more aware,” Blakey said. “Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right.”The firepower of socially conscious shareholders is growing. Almost $31 trillion was allocated to sustainable investing strategies in five key markets at the start of 2018, about a third higher than in 2016, according to a report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. So-called impact funds, which seek to actively generate social and environmental outcomes alongside a financial return, hold about $500 billion globally, the Global Impact Investing Network said in a report last year.It’s likely investor groups will use votes against company boards at annual meetings, or table resolutions calling for action -- familiar tactics used to articulate climate concerns -- to highlight social issues, Aberdeen’s Welsh-Rose said. “The reputation risk is something that is increasing now compared to how it was, I think because of that real collaborative investor action and increased sophistication of pressure groups, advocacy groups and investor groups.”In Australia alone, investments in conservation, clean energy and other initiatives that are considered likely to have a positive impact on the environment or society will rise five-fold to A$100 billion in the next five years, according to the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.“Social issues are just as important as the environmental, critical to protecting shareholder value,” according to Hesta’s Blakey, who said surveys of the pension fund’s members found they give about equal weight to the two issues.While much recent ESG focus has been on climate and governance issues, that’s often been because there’s easier access to data in those areas, according to Aberdeen’s Welsh-Rose. “It’s a little bit more clear cut,” she said. “There’s a lot of work going on now to get companies to provide a lot more information and data on the social side.”For Rio Tinto, there are specific questions to address on internal processes as a result of last month’s heritage site blasts, said Susheela Peres da Costa, head of advisory at Regnan, which advises institutional investors on ESG risks. A Rio spokesman pointed to the company’s plans announced Sunday to review and improve its handling of heritage issues.“If this was a communication failure between the indigenous groups and Rio, it might raise questions about the stakeholder consultation process effectiveness,” she said. Alternatively, it could also be a matter of internal governance in communicating stakeholder risk properly. “It was a surprise to us, in particular because we think of Rio’s record on indigenous issues as relatively good.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    • Rio Tinto apologises for blowing up 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site
      Reuters

      Rio Tinto apologises for blowing up 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site

      Rio Tinto <RIO.AX> <RIO.L> apologised for the destruction of a sacred Aboriginal cave in Western Australia that showed evidence of continual habitation dating back 46,000 years, and said it would urgently review its plans for other sites in the area. Rio Tinto blew up the cave last week in Juukan Gorge, about 1,075 km (667 miles) north of Perth, as part of an expansion programme in the Pilbara iron ore region, provoking a local outcry and calls for reform of heritage protection laws. Explosives destroyed two ancient rock shelters, where artefacts discovered included 4,000-year-old plaited human hair with genetic links to the present day traditional owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people.

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    • 5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors
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      5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors

      I wanted to find five foreign, profitable companies that investors would find worthwhile. They would have to be cheap stocks with low price-earnings ratios and high dividend yields. The idea is that by diversifying a portion of your portfolio in non-U.S. stocks, you will enhance your overall returns.Often, foreign equities provide a return that is not correlated with U.S. stocks. At least, that is the theory. There are some significant drawbacks. I have managed non-U.S. equity portfolios on the institutional side for a good number of years and am well familiar with these issues.For one, non-U.S. stocks are subject to currency fluctuations. When the dollar rises, the U.S. dollar return on non-U.S. equities tends to lag. However, I have learned that this effect tends to recycle over a number of years and sort of washes out.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsA second issue is that often, non-U.S. stocks pay dividends just twice a year. This is because the vast majority of foreign companies only report their earnings semi-annually. However, the larger U.S. listed American Depository Receipts (ADR) or American Depository Shares (ADS) tend to report quarterly and pay their dividends that way. This occurs either because U.S. holders are a big percentage of the share base, or the company perceives that its stock price is "made" in the U.S.Moreover, another issue is that many non-U.S. companies will pay their dividends out as a percentage of their semi-annual earnings. In other words, the dividends paid each year can fluctuate, based on profits. U.S. companies tend to pay out a steady dividend that increases over time. I have learned again that the larger non-U.S. stocks have started following the steady dividend approach.The following five cheap stocks are worthwhile investments. They all have higher-than-normal dividend yields that tend to be paid quarterly. They also have low price-earnings ratios.Here are five cheap stocks -- that pay nice dividends -- to buy now: * BP Midstream Partners (NYSE:BPMP) * Publicis Groupe (OTCMKTS:PUBGY) * Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) * Vodafone Group (NASDAQ:VOD) * Total (NYSE:TOT)Let's dive in and look at these foreign, cheap stocks more closely. Foreign Cheap Stocks: BP Midstream Partners (BPMP)Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 12.5%BP (NYSE:BP) is a profitable foreign stock with a nice 10.9% dividend yield. But I thought I would focus on one of its spinoff companies, BP Midstream Partners. BPMP has a higher dividend yield than BP.BPMP is a U.S.-listed master limited partnership (MLP) that is focused solely on the midstream portion of the oil and gas life cycle. That involves running oil and gas onshore and offshore pipelines and terminals.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA Now that more companies are looking to store oil and gas, its assets are close to fully occupied.BPMP declared a quarterly dividend on April 15 for 34.75 cents per share. That works out to an annualized dividend of $1.39. At today's price of $11, the stock yields 12.5%. This is higher than BP's distribution yield of just under 11%.The company reported excellent results for Q1 on May 8. It says that the quarterly distribution is covered 1.17 times by its earnings. Moreover, BPMP says it is targeting a 5% increase in its distributions to shareholders in 2020 over 2019. * 7 Stocks to Buy That Have Nothing But Upside In Their Future At 7.3 times earnings, with a 16.8% free cash flow yield and a 12.5% dividend yield, BPMP is very profitable and cheap. Investors should take a close look at the company. Publicis Groupe (PUBGY)Source: shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 4.9%Next on my list of cheap stocks is Publicis Groupe. This is a French advertising, communications and digital marketing company. Publicis has its tentacles in a lot of related areas like media, technology, healthcare communications and consulting services. It owns famed companies Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett.Publicis Groupe trades on the over-the-counter market. Its dividend yield has been about 9%, and the forward price-earnings ratio is about 7. So it is a profitable company, but a cheap stock.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA On April 13, Publicis reported its revenue, which was up 17%, although it included the effects of the acquisition of Epsilon. Its organic growth was down by 2.9% over last year. The company did not report its earnings, which apparently are done on a semi-annual basis.In addition, Publicis Groupe decided to cut its dividend by 50% to 1.15 euros. This works out to about 31.12 cents per ADR.There are four PUBGY ADRs per French ordinary share. As a result, PUBGY has a dividend yield of 4.9%. The company said it will pay the dividend in September.So Publicis Groupe is a cheap and profitable foreign stock with an above-average dividend yield. Rio Tinto Group (RIO)Source: BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 8.4%Rio Tinto is a $74 billion mining company based in London. It produces iron ore, bauxite, copper, gold, silver, aluminum and a host of other commodities.Last year, Rio Tinto started paying dividends four times a year. It is still not clear that it will continue with this practice. I suspect it will, as there does not seem to be an announcement to the contrary. Based on last year's dividend of $3.82 per share, RIO stock yields 8.4%.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA Moreover, the company has a website section showing consensus financial information, including production, revenue and earnings estimates by all its sell-side analysts. This is not allowed by U.S. regulators for U.S. stocks, for no good reason. But it is fairly common for foreign stocks under looser financial information regulations.Based on this I estimate that earnings will be $5.04 per ADR this year. The company just needs global lockdowns to relax, or at least ease up.This will increase the demand for global committees, especially iron and copper. As demand rises, the price of these commodities will increase and the company will make more money.This puts the stock at a very cheap multiple of just 9 times earnings. So, combined with the 8.4% dividend, RIO stock offers very good value for investors. Vodafone Group (VOD)Source: Photos by D / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 6.6%Vodafone is a telecom and cable TV company based in the United Kingdom. The company has a $43.8 billion market value and its ADR is listed on the Nasdaq Exchange.VOD stock has a very high dividend yield at 6.6% and is quite attractive to investors at this level. It pays the dividend twice a year. Vodafone kept its final dividend level with last year in its earnings announcement on May 12.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA This requires a little explanation. First of all, Vodafone is like most other UK stocks that report their earnings and dividends twice a year. But for some reason, even though VOD's earnings are in pounds, it pays out the dividend in eurocents.So for this fiscal year ending March 31, the Vodafone annual dividend was kept stable at 9 eurocents per share. Now since there are 10 ordinary shares for every one VOD ADR, and since the exchange rate is $1.0823 per euro, the U.S. dividend per VOD ADR is about 97 cents. That makes the annualized yield about 6.6%.To make things more complicated, the upcoming final dividend (half of the total dividend, since an interim dividend was already paid) is set at 4.5 eurocents per ordinary share. This will be paid on Aug. 7, 2020. This effectively makes the upcoming payment a dividend yield of about 3.3%. This depends on the exchange rate when the ADR payment is set.Vodafone's earnings for the year ending March were reasonably good. The bottom line is that the company expects its FY 2021 free cash flow to decline slightly from 5.7 billion pounds to 5.4 billion pounds. As a result, I expect the dividend will be kept level.This makes VOD stock very attractive as a stable, well-covered and high-dividend play for income investors. Total (TOT)Source: MDOGAN / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 8.8%Total is a French oil and gas company. Last year the company paid four dividends to its shareholders, although it calls three of them "interim" dividends and the last one a "final" dividend.This past year, the company increased its dividend 5% to 2.68 euros per share. This works out to $2.92 per ADR.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA As a result, the stock has a very attractive dividend yield of 8.8% for investors.I estimate that the stock is also cheap at just 7.4 times earnings. In its most recent Q1 earnings presentation, Total said its break-even level is at $25 per barrel of oil.So I expect the company will be able to stay profitable this quarter. As economic activity picks up, the company will be able to make more money once the price of oil rises.This is an attractively priced stock at below 8 times this year's earnings, based on the company's recent earnings results.As of this writing, Mark Hake, CFA does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Mark Hake runs the Total Yield Value Guide, which you can review here. More From InvestorPlace * Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Shocking Secret * 1 Under-the-Radar 5G Stock to Buy Now * The 1 Stock All Retirees Must Own The post 5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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    • Rio Tinto supporting WA jobs as COVID-19 recovery phase ramps up
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      Rio Tinto supporting WA jobs as COVID-19 recovery phase ramps up

      Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in Western Australia is continuing to recruit for skilled roles, apprentices, graduates and Aboriginal trainees to fill vacancies as the company progresses its development plans in the Pilbara.

    • Royal Flying Doctor Service and Rio Tinto partner to improve remote and rural Queensland health services
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    • Reuters

      Belgium brings back its bling with reopening of world's largest diamond hub

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    • Rio Tinto contributes $10 million to support COVID-19 community initiatives across Canada and United States
      Business Wire

      Rio Tinto contributes $10 million to support COVID-19 community initiatives across Canada and United States

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    • Moody's

      Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited -- Moody's affirms all Rio Tinto group ratings; outlook stable

      Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") affirmed all Rio Tinto group ratings (A2 senior unsecured, Prime-1 short term. A full list of the ratings can be found at the end of this press release. "The affirmation of the Rio Tinto Group's ratings reflects the resiliency of the company's performance in weaker price environments, particularly its iron ore operations which are the driving force in revenue, EBITDA, and cash flow generation" said Carol Cowan, Moody's Senior Vice President and lead analyst for the Rio Tinto Group.

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    • Diamonds Need Some New Best Friends
      Bloomberg

      Diamonds Need Some New Best Friends

      (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s looking decidedly somber out there for the world’s favorite sparkly stone.Diamonds were ailing even before the coronavirus came along. Now, weeks into lockdowns in the U.S. and elsewhere, all but the largest diggers, polishers and retailers are struggling for cash. Unable to sell its stones, Dominion Diamond Mines, the miner that sold luxury brand Harry Winston to Swatch Group AG in 2013, filed for insolvency protection late Wednesday. Anglo American Plc’s De Beers cut 2020 production guidance by a fifth Thursday, in line with demand.To secure their future, diamond giants may need a rebranding akin to the storytelling feat pulled off by Harry Oppenheimer, the late De Beers chairman who cultivated the engagement ring to overcome a slump after the Great Depression. In so doing, he forged a tradition that fueled sales for decades. Today, a refreshed myth-making effort could target the post-pandemic concerns of millennial consumers: marketing the diamond as a store of value in volatile times comparable to art, which is also authentic, traceable and sustainable.Since 2011, when prices peaked thanks to China’s new shoppers, diamonds have faltered. Lab-grown stones, initially priced confusingly close to the real thing, posed a challenge. To make things worse, a supply glut hit the market, pushing producers to cut prices. A 26-million-carat increase in 2017 was the largest single-year volume addition since 1986, according to consulting firm Bain & Co. Meanwhile, financing availability shrank dramatically as traditional lenders pulled away. A 2018 fraud scandal involving celebrated Indian jeweler Nirav Modi didn’t help. The coronavirus will accelerate some developments that aren’t unwelcome. In supply terms, the industry may look healthier if older or more marginal mines are obliged to stop digging. Rio Tinto Group last year had already announced the 2020 closure of its Argyle mine, which produces both low-quality gems and fabled pink diamonds, taking some 13 million carats out of global annual production of just over 140 million. The current crisis will add to that. In March, Dominion stopped work at its Ekati mine in Canada, and other pits have been closed or are working only partially. Not all will return.There will be a shakeout among polishers and perhaps more integration in some parts of the industry, of the sort demonstrated by Louis Vuitton’s purchase earlier this year of the largest rough diamond since 1905. Sales of rough and polished stones will change too, as travel restrictions in South Africa, Botswana and India push more deals online. It’s a remarkable feat for a conservative industry that thrives on face-to-face interaction, and arcane systems like De Beers’ “sights,” as its regular sales are known.Yet the scale of this health crisis, rapidly turning into an economic cataclysm, has also made other problems far worse. India’s polishers are not only strapped for credit, but also struggling with a weaker rupee, lockdowns and curfews; Thousands of workers have been forced to leave hubs like Surat altogether. Elsewhere, both diamantaires and jewelry buyers are stuck at home, making it harder to clear excess inventory. The flow of diamonds has dwindled to barely a trickle.The real concern is demand, where a grim outlook for disposable incomes suggests a hoped-for 2020 recovery is impossible, even as supply shrinks. The very top of the market may be insulated, but further down even China’s “revenge purchases” aren’t going to be enough. As my colleague Nisha Gopalan has pointed out, such splurges won’t save luxury products — especially if U.S. job losses continue to pile up. Inventory could flood the market, too.All this upheaval does makes it a good time to rethink the storytelling behind diamonds, though. Coordinated marketing, once the industry’s go-to solution, will need to make a comeback as consumers emerge from the wreckage of coronavirus. Post-pandemic values may change broadly.Three things could be highlighted. First, a store of value for the long term, especially for the largest gems where prices vary less. Like art, or fine wine, only wearable. Better yet, to appeal to the millennials that make up its consumer base, the industry can promote the stones’ authenticity, building on existing work around provenance and traceability, dating back to the Kimberley Process, the multilateral system aimed at ensuring the proceeds of diamond mining aren’t used to fund conflict. The industry is also sustainable, with relatively clean, chemical-free processes.Marketing spend has recovered after a dip in the past decade, but coordinated industry expenditure remains far below even the early 2000s. While the likes of De Beers and Alrosa PJSC may be reluctant to sponsor cash-strapped smaller rivals, it would be money well spent. Nearly seven decades after Marilyn Monroe’s immortal song, it's time for a new myth.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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      RPT-COLUMN-New aluminium crisis looms as output rises in demand void: Andy Home

      Global aluminium production rose by 2.1% over the first three months of this year, according to the latest figures from the International Aluminium Institute. In the opaque aluminium market the truest signal is price and that on the London Metal Exchange hit a four-year low of $1,455 per tonne earlier this month. Other industrial metals are experiencing a supply shock which is partly mitigating the coronavirus demand shock as mines around the world are forced to stop operations due to lockdowns in key producer countries such as Peru.

    • Reuters

      COLUMN-New aluminium crisis looms as output rises in demand void: Andy Home

      Global aluminium production rose by 2.1% over the first three months of this year, according to the latest figures from the International Aluminium Institute. In the opaque aluminium market the truest signal is price and that on the London Metal Exchange hit a four-year low of $1,455 per tonne earlier this month. Other industrial metals are experiencing a supply shock which is partly mitigating the coronavirus demand shock as mines around the world are forced to stop operations due to lockdowns in key producer countries such as Peru.

    • Bloomberg

      As Oil Crashes, Iron Ore's Still Rocking

      (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Last year was supposed to be an aberration for iron ore, an unexpected period of sky-high prices after a fatal dam collapse in Brazil and a tropical cyclone in Australia. Instead, it continues to defy gravity. Sheltered from the worst of the pandemic upheaval, Australian diggers like BHP Group, which reported stable output for the March quarter Tuesday, can expect to benefit.Rio de Janeiro-based Vale SA warned just weeks ago that weak demand from steel mills outside China would hurt iron ore as the coronavirus spreads, industrial appetite shrinks and producers bring down the shutters. The first part of the statement has proved accurate: Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts that pandemic-linked manufacturing shutdowns, especially among automakers, will drag demand down by 10% to 15% in the U.S. and Europe this year. BHP says it expects steel outside China to contract by a double-digit percentage, as logistical difficulties and collapsing demand force customers to cut back. Yet prices remain surprisingly robust, with Singapore futures hovering around $83 per metric ton. The main explanation sits with China, where furnaces and construction projects are recovering. The country accounts for about 70% of global demand for seaborne iron ore, so a rebound there matters far more than pain elsewhere. By way of example, China’s import requirements amount to about 1.1 billion tons, against 100 million for Europe.While the risk of a second wave of infections remains, China’s return to work is real: Port stocks have been steadily reducing, while premiums for higher-quality material have been unusually high. BHP estimates electric-arc furnace utilization has recovered to 56% after falling to 12%. It’s true that exporters of finished products such as excavators will be hit by a weak global economy, but a lot more ore is gobbled up for the giant home market.Alongside that, global supply is doing worse than many expected. Granted, widespread closures aren’t just a problem for iron ore. Coronavirus stoppages are hitting other commodities like copper, where Chris LaFemina at Jefferies estimates 20% of supply is now impacted, versus 8% for global iron ore. That supply crunch is supporting base metals and other commodities to the point that China’s grim first-quarter economic data left the metal uncharacteristically unruffled Friday.For iron ore, there’s more. On top of the pandemic, there are ongoing disruptions: specifically, upheaval at Vale, which is still struggling with permits as it tries to recover from the Brumadinho dam collapse. On Friday, the company cut 2020 production expectations for iron ore fines to 310 million to 330 million tons, from 340 million to 355 million, while warning the fallout from the health crisis could get worse. The Brazilian government’s poor handling of the pandemic means it isn’t impossible to imagine a drop to 2019’s level of 302 million tons — a significant loss to a large, though tight, seaborne market.For producers Down Under, none of this is bad news. While in copper everyone is suffering as large mines from Latin America to Africa slow or stop digging, the pain in iron ore hasn’t been equally distributed. Australia’s enormous Pilbara operations have by and large kept going, with exports up significantly last month. Vale is benefiting from higher prices that may cushion output losses; by contrast, the big Australians are digging and selling more, too. BHP reported a 3% increase in production for the nine months to the end of March. Rio Tinto Group, now the world’s top producer, last week also reported higher first-quarter output and shipments, compared to a year earlier.Better yet, costs are coming down. That’s thanks to the effects of a weaker domestic currency against the U.S. dollar, rock-bottom oil prices and still-depressed shipping rates. BHP’s unit costs for Pilbara already hovered around $13 per ton. At the same time, realized prices have held — BHP says its average in the March quarter was just over $74 per ton, down just 5% on the six months to December. That will help offset damage in harder-hit commodities, particularly oil.It’s unclear how long this corner of the commodities market will continue to hold up. Other producers may well limp back, adding to supply, and China could face further virus setbacks. For now, Brazil looks vulnerable and China robust. It may be another unexpected year of grace for iron ore. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    • Rio Tinto increases COVID-19 screening measures at Perth Airport
      Business Wire

      Rio Tinto increases COVID-19 screening measures at Perth Airport

      Rio Tinto has introduced further measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Western Australia following the start of rapid screening trials at Perth Airport.

    • Fortune Will Favor Miners with Nerves of Steel
      Bloomberg

      Fortune Will Favor Miners with Nerves of Steel

      (Bloomberg Opinion) -- After years of buying at the peak of the economic cycle and selling in the trough, could the world’s big diggers do the reverse? Compared to peers in oil and gas, Rio Tinto Group and the largest diversified miners are riding out the coronavirus storm in sheltered positions: They have low operating costs, little debt and more than $60 billion in liquidity.History matters here. Just over a decade ago, miners binged on hubristic investments like Rio’s acquisition of aluminum producer Alcan or Anglo American Plc’s Minas Rio iron-ore venture. In the hangover years between 2012 and 2016, some $200 billion was written off, and a generation of chief executives were shown the door. It was a near-death experience akin to what the energy sector is going through today, and one that left behind an industry focused on cleaning up, cutting back and returning cash to shareholders. Rio has been among the most generous, handing back $36 billion since 2016.It means the industry’s largest players went into this crisis with two things: balance sheets at their most robust in years, and a pedestrian growth outlook. Almost the opposite is true at long-coveted targets like Freeport-McMoRan Inc., with a market value of $11 billion, and First Quantum Minerals Ltd., valued at $3.5 billion. These mid-size base metal producers are beginning to look fragile, with expanding copper mines but nearly $19 billion of total debt between them. Their shares have fallen more than 40% this year. No one knows how long a recovery from the pandemic will take, or what life will look like on the other side, but miners have a little more certainty than most: Metals like copper, used for electrification and a host of consumer goods, will be needed, and will be in short supply. It’s a tantalizing state of affairs. As ever, things aren’t quite that simple, and even the heftiest miners aren’t immune to the world’s turmoil. BHP Group has to contend with the crashing oil price. Anglo American is dealing with lockdowns in South Africa, Peru and elsewhere, as governments try to contain the spread of coronavirus. Glencore Plc, long the most buccaneering of the large players, is tackling succession, trouble in Zambia and a pending U.S. Department of Justice investigation into its business practices.At Rio, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques has perhaps the strongest motivation to act. He is less exposed to many of these uncertainties, and is running a miner that still relies on iron ore for about three-quarters of its Ebitda, as steel consumption hovers at or near a peak in China. Large mainland miners, like acquisitive Zijin Mining Group or Jiangxi Copper Co., may be his competitors. There are cashed-up bullion players, too: Barrick Gold Corp.’s CEO, Mark Bristow, has said he could consider copper and even Freeport’s Indonesian Grasberg mine.The trouble is, we’re not yet at the distress levels that will prompt boards to approve a rush for checkbooks. Travel and due diligence are impossible, markets are too volatile for share deals and the next few months remain an unknown quantity. Shareholders may balk. In past crises, even distressed sellers were able to command premiums, so bargains will be tough. Copper prices are still above the depths of 2016.Worse, not even the most obvious prey would be easy to snap up: Freeport and First Quantum come with traps. Freeport, the world’s largest listed copper producer, faces the question of who will lead it when veteran Richard Adkerson retires, along with concerns over older U.S. mines and the costly move underground at Grasberg. Rio, unhappy with the environmental and political risks, sold its interest in the Indonesian mine in 2018. First Quantum, more bite-sized and so perhaps more appealing, battened down the hatches earlier this year with a poison pill, after Jiangxi Copper built an 18% stake. Its flagship Cobre Panama mine has yet to  operate through a full wet season. Chinese players eyeing miners with Australian assets, meanwhile, would also have to deal with a regulator bent on discouraging opportunistic foreign bargain-hunters.Yet the longer the pandemic lockdowns drag on, the more the pain increases, as fixed costs go out and no cash comes in. It’s visible already in lithium, with Tianqi Lithium Corp. seeking to sell part of its stake in the Greenbushes operation in Australia, as it struggles to repay debt taken on to buy a stake in Chilean giant SQM. It’s rare to see large Chinese producers in distressed sales, even if lithium prices have plummeted since 2018. Rare-earth producer Lynas Corp., meanwhile, says it may need public funds to complete an ore-processing plant. Buyers won’t pounce yet. A global economic recovery isn’t in sight and will be slow; most will need a little more confidence that growth is coming back. That will mean a wider improvement than China’s stimulus and return to work, as encouraging as State Grid Corp.’s 2020 investment plans may be. They’ll also need travel restrictions to lift. Wait too long, though, and the opportunity to buy cheap will pass — again. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    • Rio Tinto releases first quarter production results
      Business Wire

      Rio Tinto releases first quarter production results

      Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said "In these uncertain and unprecedented times we continue to deliver products to our customers with our first priority to protect the health and safety of all our employees and communities. We are focused on maintaining a business as usual approach and have taken extensive measures to ensure we can do so safely.

    • GlobeNewswire

      American Pacific Mining Signs Definitive Agreement on Madison Metals’ Interest in the Permitted Madison Copper Gold Project in Montana, under Option with Rio Tinto

      Madison Metals and American Pacific Mining Corp (CSE: USGD / FWB: 1QC / OTCPK: USGDF) (“APM” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the company has signed a definitive agreement with Madison Metals to acquire the Madison Copper Gold Project near Silver Star Montana, USA. The project is currently under an earn-in, joint venture agreement announced by Broadway Gold on April 30, 2019, whereby Kennecott Exploration Company, part of the Rio Tinto Group (ASX, LON: RIO) may spend $30 million USD to earn up to 70% of the project. Drill results from Kennecott’s 2019 drill program are pending and should be released shortly.