Rio Tinto iron ore shipments drop on labour crunch, project delays

  Reuters Rio Tinto on Wednesday reported lowerthanexpected iron ore shipments for the first quarter, as labour shortages and supply chain snags curtailed the global miners efforts to ramp up its Pilbara operations in Western Australia.

  The mineralrich state lifted hardline border curbs put in place to curb the spread of COVID19 only in early March, leaving companies to battle for months a dearth of mine workers and train drivers even as pentup demand fuelled a rally in commodities.

  Rio has also had to contend with a delay in production from a new greenfields mine, which led to a weakerthanexpected annual shipments forecast in January.

  The worlds biggest iron ore producer shipped 71.5 million tonnes Mt of the steelmaking commodity in the three months ended March 31, compared with 77.8 Mt a year earlier and a Visible Alpha consensus estimate of 76 Mt.

  Production for the quarter stood at 71.7 Mt, down 6.2 from a year earlier.

  Global miner BHP Group is scheduled to report its thirdquarter production results on Thursday.

  Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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