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Rio Tinto 1Q Production Drops

Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto PLC says extreme weather in Australia has hit production in the first quarter of the year.

LONDON (AP) -- Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto PLC says extreme weather in Australia has hit production in the first quarter of the year.

Rio Tinto said Wednesday that global iron ore output dropped three percent from a year earlier and hard coking coal production slumped 12 percent. Copper production fell 14 percent and alumina production shrank 4 percent.

Rio Tinto was forced to declare force majeure at four of its Queensland coal mines because of heavy flooding. That excludes the company from liability for unforeseen events beyond its control, meaning it can miss contracted deliveries without penalty. One mine remains closed.

Rio Tinto adds it plans to "accelerate development" of Riversdale Mining's coking coal assets after taking control of the company earlier this week.

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