Rio Tinto share price sinks amid gas woes

Rio Tinto is struggling to secure the gas it needs to power all of its projects.

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The Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) share price is in the red today.

Shares in the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) mining stock closed yesterday trading for $135.87. In morning trade on Tuesday, shares are changing hands for $134.96 apiece, down 0.7%.

For some context, the ASX 200 is down 0.2% at this same time.

The Rio Tinto share price is under selling pressure amid news that the company is pausing alumina shipments to third parties from its Queensland refineries.

Rio Tinto share price slips on alumina disruptions

Citing sources wishing to remain anonymous, The Australian Financial News reports that the ASX 200 miner has declared force majeure on its Queensland alumina shipments.

A force majeure, if you're not familiar, relates to any force of nature (or man) that's well beyond a company's control. Like wild weather, war, or in Rio Tinto's case, a shortage of gas to power its alumina refineries.

For its full-year results, reported in February, Rio Tinto noted:

Alumina production of 7.5 million tonnes was unchanged from 2022, with the Yarwun and Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) refineries showing improved operational stability.

Alumina is the raw material that is processed into the aluminium we're all more familiar with.

The anonymous sources said Rio Tinto's refineries haven't been able to produce at normal capacity due to regional gas shortages impacting the East Coast. Back in March, the miner reported fires in the state could have impacted the gas pipelines that supply Yarwun.

The miner's own aluminium operations are not expected to be impacted.

The Rio Tinto share price remains up 25% over 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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