15 February 2013

Namibia: Another Tough Year for Rössing

RIO Tinto's Rössing Uranium still failed to make money last year, but the mine had a better year than 2011, the mining group's latest financial results showed yesterday.

For the year ended December 31 2012, Rössing's earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) - used as a measure of a company's operating profitability - showed a loss of US$56 million, nearly half a billion Namibia dollars. In 2011, Rössing's Ebitda loss stood at US$83 million.

Net earnings at the mine showed a loss of US$47 million, a slight improvement from 2011 when the loss was US$48 million. Rössing's gross revenue dropped, decreasing from US$450 million in 2011 to US$352 million last year.

The mine's operating assets fell from US$153 million in 2011 to US$85 million a year later, while capital expenditure dropped from US$39 million to US$17 million.

Beside Rössing, Rio Tinto's energy interests include Rio Tinto Coal Australia, Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique and Energy Resources of Australia. The energy group's underlying earnings of US$283 million were 74% lower than in 2011, Rio Tinto said.

"2012 was a difficult year in coal and uranium markets as supply and demand fundamentals struggled to balance in the face of of global economic uncertainty, with prices declining across most of the year," Rio Tinto said in its financial report.

"The uranium spot price reached a low of US$42 per pound in October 2012, down US$10 from the same time in 2011."

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