Bid target Rio Tinto said yesterday its second-quarter refined copper production plunged 18 per cent from a year ago, as the miner saw lower yields at some of its mines.
But chief executive Tom Albanese said iron ore output rose 13 per cent on sustained demand from China.
Production of iron ore increased to 41.9 million tons from 37.1 million tons a year earlier. Iron ore has gained almost fourfold since 2001.
Albanese, whose firm is being chased by BHP Billiton, said: “Chinese gross national product is continuing to grow at around 10 per cent per annum, demand is strong while supply remains constrained.”
Albanese said the miner had said spent $401m on exploration and evaluation work in the first half of the year, more than double the amount spent in the same period last year.
The Anglo-Australian firm said its “expansion projects remain on schedule and on budget.” The business said mined copper production was up 15 per cent on the corresponding quarter. The stock closed down 3.8 per cent at 5,025p.