Rio Tinto hits record global iron ore production in 2012

GLOBAL miner Rio Tinto hit a record 253m tonnes of global iron output over 2012, beating guidance as demand from China drove a price recovery.

Rio had set a target of 250m tonnes for 2012, after posting output of 245m tonnes over the previous year.

“Markets remain volatile, but our business continues to perform well,” said chief executive Tom Albanese yesterday.

Meanwhile, total mined copper production was six per cent higher than in 2011 thanks to a rebound in ore grades at Rio’s Kennecott Utah Copper and Escondida mines.

Despite record results in iron ore output, the FTSE 100 miner has spelled out plans to reduce costs by $5bn (£3.1bn) by the end of 2014 and also cut exploration spending by $1bn.

Albanese added: “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.”

Analyst Peter Mallin-Jones from Canaccord Genuity said he expected an upward bias to earning changes in coming weeks.