Rio Tinto share price races higher after Q3 update beats expectations

Rio Tinto has released its quarterly update. How did it perform?

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The Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) share price is on the move on Tuesday morning.

At the time of writing, the mining giant's shares are up 3% to $119.44.

This follows the release of the miner's third-quarter operational update.

Rio Tinto share price higher on Q3 update

For the three months ended 30 September, Rio Tinto reported the following compared to the second quarter:

  • Pilbara iron ore shipments up 6% to 83.9Mt
  • Bauxite production up 3% to 13.9Mt
  • Aluminium production up 2% to 828kt
  • Mined copper production up 17% to 169kt
  • Titanium dioxide slag production down 19% to 247kt
  • IOC iron ore pellets and concentrate up 16% to 2.4Mt

What happened during the quarter?

Rio Tinto had a solid quarter and has delivered production and shipments either in line or ahead of expectations for the majority of commodities. As a result, its guidance for the full-year remains unchanged for all but one commodity – IOC iron ore pellets.

Rio Tinto's Chief Executive, Jakob Stausholm, was pleased with the quarter. He said:

We delivered another quarter of progress and maintained momentum at our Pilbara iron ore operations. We continued to make good headway ramping up our Oyu Tolgoi high-grade underground copper mine, our Kitimat aluminium smelter returned to full production, and we safely restarted the smelter and refinery at Kennecott after completing the largest rebuild in its history. We have more to do as we work towards sustainable performance improvements across our business.

Stausholm also highlights that the company has been making progress in gaining exposure to future facing materials. He adds:

We took real steps to build our portfolio of materials needed for the future, signing agreements that will see us take a leading position in recycled aluminium in North America and agreeing to enter a joint venture with Codelco to explore for copper in Chile. We also completed further infrastructure agreements with our partners for the world class Simandou iron ore project.

How does this compare to expectations?

According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, its analysts were expecting iron ore shipments of 83.9Mt versus the consensus estimate of 83.5Mt. It had also pencilled in aluminium production of 821kt (cons. 814kt) and mined copper of 164kt (cons. 152kt).

As you can see above, this means the company has delivered or beaten these estimates with its update today.

This may explain why the Rio Tinto share price is having such a good session.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs Group. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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