* Rio Tinto unit Coal & Allied trims full-year output target
* Says new guidance hinges on break in rains at its collieries
SYDNEY, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Coal and Allied (CNA.AX), a 76 percent-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)< RIO.L>, said on Wednesday heavy rains at its collieries would trim its 2010 coal production and sales to between 25 million and 26 million tonnes.
The Australian miner said its share of saleable production in the September quarter was 9 percent lower than the prior quarter and 15 percent under the same quarter a year ago.
“Production was impacted by extended periods of wet weather with approximately 13 per cent of calendar time lost to rain during the quarter, which is well above our planned and prior year average levels,” the company said.
In July, Coal & Allied forecast full-year production of around 27 million tonnes.
The unseasonal rains, blamed by meteorologists on a La Nina weather event, started in August and have persisted ever since, giving some regions their wettest spell on record and flooding parts of the Australian coal belts.
Meteorologists warn La Nina was creating a higher risk of cyclones in the region during the coming Australian summer months, which could also affect the current quarter’s output.
“Whilst we continue to expect a strong Q4, the continued impact of adverse weather has led to a reduction in full year production and sales expectations to 25-26Mt (on a 100 per cent basis), though this remains contingent on strong coal chain performance and more favourable weather patterns,” the company said. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Ed Davies)