Mining giant Rio Tinto said that iron ore production had increased in the final quarter of the year on the back of increased demand from China.
The Anglo-Australian company said that output from its Pilbara iron assets had risen 3.0 per cent in the last three months despite the challenges of Cyclone Damien and the coronavirus.
However, the FTSE 100 firm reported a 12 per cent fall in bauxite production across the same period.
Shares in Rio Tinto rose 0.7 per cent in the first hour of trading today.
The firm said that demand from China had returned to pre-Covid levels due to the rapid distribution of government stimulus.
It added that demand in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Europe was recovering, amplified by restocking.
Today’s trading update was the first for new boss Jakob Stausholm, who took over from Jean-Sebastian Jacques in December.
Jacques stepped down after the company destroyed a sacred 40,000 year-old cave complex in Western Australia.
Stausholm said that “important progress” was being made in restoring trust with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people to whom the rock formations were sacred.
“We are also developing additional measures to strengthen our partnerships with traditional owners, including a commitment to modernise and improve agreements, particularly in the Pilbara”, he added.
Last year an inquiry into the incident found that Rio Tinto should completely rebuild the complex.