UPDATE 2-Rio Tinto cuts 2017 iron ore guidance as Q1 shipments rise
* Rio sees 10-20 mln/t drop in 2017 Australia output guidance
* Rio Q1 iron ore shipments up 11 pct vs yr ago
* Keeps 2016 target of 350mln/t
* Warns of price volatility across markets (Adds quotes from analysts, details on autonomous trains)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, April 19 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto on Tuesday cut its 2017 production guidance from its Australian iron ore mines due to a delay in the rollout of its autonomous transport technology, based on driverless trains.
The global mining giant said output from its Pilbara mines, which make up the vast majority of its iron ore production, would fall to 330 million to 340 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 350 million tonnes, as testing of its AutoHaul technology continues.
Rio Tinto's $518 million autonomous train plan has been under development since 2012, and follows the deployment of 71 autonomous trucks at its Australian iron ore mines.
Still, the world's No. 2 iron ore producer posted an 11 percent rise in first quarter iron ore shipments and confirmed it was on track for a record 350 million tonnes in 2016 as it runs its mines at full tilt despite a global supply glut amid slower Chinese industrial growth. Continuación...