Rio Tinto beats iron ore production targets in 2012

Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto managed to surpass its own iron ore production targets in 2012, while its other commodity classes also delivered large increases year-on-year.

Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto managed to surpass its own iron ore production targets in 2012, while its other commodity classes also delivered large increases year-on-year.

Iron ore output hit a record 253m tonnes last year, up from 199m tonnes in 2011, and ahead of the 250m-tonne guidance given in October.

Fourth-quarter production reached 66m tonnes, up 2% year-on-year, the group said on Tuesday.

The company also made record global iron ore shipments of 247m tonnes despite severe weather disruptions and a significant maintenance shut-down during the year, the group said.

Market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital said in an e-mail: "The increase in output is driven by resurging Chinese demand which has propped up commodity prices in recent months.

"Iron ore prices have soared more than 80% since September as Chinese steel mills (the biggest buyers of seaborne-traded ore) re-entered the market on signs of a recovery in the Chinese economy."

He said that 2013 looks to be an "impressive year" for Rio.

The company's Chief Executive, Tom Albanese, said: "This was another year of strong operational performance across the group. We achieved record annual iron ore production and shipments as our expansion programme continues on schedule, delivering industry leading returns for our shareholders. Our copper, bauxite, alumina, thermal coal and titanium dioxide businesses all delivered substantial production increases on 2011 levels.

"Markets remain volatile, but our business continues to perform well. Across the group we are taking action to roll back unsustainable cost increases. This further enhances our resilience and competitive edge as we enter 2013."

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