Rio Tinto H1 iron ore production, shipments hit new highs

16th July 2014, Comments 0 comments

Mining giant Rio Tinto Wednesday said its iron ore production and shipments surged to record highs in the first-half of the year as it boosted output despite a recent fall in commodity prices.

Rio recorded fresh global iron ore production highs of 139.5 million tonnes in the six months to June 30, a 10 percent rise year on year, and shipments of 142.4 million tonnes.

"We achieved another half of very strong operating performance, powered by productivity gains across our business," chief executive Sam Walsh said.

"Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low-cost producer."

Rio's share price was up 1.11 percent at Aus$63.80 by midday.

The world's second-largest mining firm said global iron ore shipments rose to 75.7 million tonnes in the three months to June, a 23 percent increase on-year, while production rose 11 percent to 73.1 million tonnes.

The boost came on the back of continued expansion and productivity gains, it said.

The June quarter result was in contrast to a fall in first-quarter iron ore production, which was blamed on bad weather over Western Australia.

"A strong iron ore result and good beats in copper and thermal coal underpin what is on balance another solid result for Rio Tinto," Goldman Sachs analysts said, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

"The key underlying driver remains the ongoing push for productivity, with a substantial proportion of the growth delivered at minimal capital expense."

Iron ore prices have dropped almost 30 percent this year -- falling below US$100 a tonne in May for the first time since 2012 -- owing to a supply glut as miners lift output on expectations of continued Chinese demand.

The quarterly update included an increase in full-year production guidance for copper from 570,000 tonnes to 585,000 tonnes, following rises in output for Rio's Kennecott Utah Copper mine in the United States and its Oyu Tolgoi site in Mongolia.

The metal's prices have fared better than iron ore in recent months, and are up more than 5.0 percent in the June quarter.

© 2014 AFP

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