Record Iron-Ore Production from Rio Tinto’s Australian Mines

rio tinto capesize iron ore bulk carrier cape lambert
Iron ore is loaded on to the Pacific Ruby, a Capesize bulk carrier berthed at Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert port. Image (c) Rio Tinto

April 15 (Bloomberg) — Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, said first-quarter iron-ore production rose to a record after expanding mines in Australia.

Output rose 8 percent to 52.3 million metric tons from 48.3 million tons a year earlier, London-based Rio said today in a statement. This missed the 54.7 million-ton median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg after bad weather affected mines and ports.

At the same time as reining in spending and cutting costs, Chief Executive Officer Sam Walsh has been driving an expansion of Rio’s iron-ore unit, the biggest contributor to earnings. Prices delivered to China, the largest buyer, fell 13 percent in the quarter as producers from Australia continue to expand operations.

“Rio Tinto has started the year with a series of performance records as we continue to drive productivity gains across our operations,” Walsh said according to the statement. “Our Pilbara iron ore business has again set new benchmarks for production, shipments and rail volumes for the first quarter.”

The stock advanced 2.3 percent to close at 3,408 pence in London yesterday. Rio reported before the Australian share market opened.

– Jesse Riseborough and Elisabeth Behrmann, Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.