Rio Tinto has posted record iron ore production for the march quarter, beating analyst expectations and keeping the miner on track to meet its full year targets.
In its quarterly results yesterday Rio said its global iron ore production was up four per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012, and iron ore shipments were also up seven per cent.
It comes after some analysts predicted weaker results from the miner on the back of weather disruptions earlier this year.
“Record first quarter iron ore production, shipment and rail volumes reflected the recent re-rating of Pilbara capacity through debottlenecking and productivity improvements with minimal capital expenditure,” Rio said.
“The Pilbara iron ore operations swiftly recovered from the cyclone season, and are now running at full capacity of 237 million tonnes per year.”
Along with the record production, Rio said the expansion of its Pilbara assets to 290 million tonnes per year remained on budget and on schedule to meet the completion date in the third quarter.
While iron ore continues to be a bright spot for the company, Rio said its copper production forecast would have to be re-worked following a recent land slip at the Bingham Canyon mine in the US.
“Based on an early assessment of information currently available, it is estimated that 2013 refined copper production at Kennecott Utah Copper will be approximately 100,000 tonnes less than previously anticipated,” it said.
Taking a broader look at the company, Rio also said its move to cut costs was working, and the impact of cutting jobs throughout its operations was starting to have a positive impact on the bottom line.
“Year to date cash cost savings are tracking on target as the impact of headcount reductions and productivity gains are gathering pace,” it said.
You can read the full operations review here.