Rio posts records tonnes, eyes massive growth

Rio Tinto has posted record production from its Pilbara iron ore mines, and says its massive expansions in the region are still on track.

According to its newly released December quarter results production increased across the board for the Rio's assets, but the company said more cost cutting was on the horizon.

Rio produced 253 million tonnes of iron ore in 2012, a four per cent increase on last year’s 245mt result.

From the global total a record 247mt was also loaded onto ships, with almost 95 per cent shipped through the Pilbara.

Overall iron ore represented more than 70 per cent of the company’s annual earnings, with production aimed to increase further to 360mt by early 2015.

In other parts of the business copper, bauxite, and thermal coal production was all higher, but hard coking coal production slipped nine per cent after maintenance shutdowns at Hail Creek and Kestrel.

Rio also said a review of its Gove bauxite and aluminum operations would be completed by the end of the month, and it may decide to halt production unless a cheaper source of gas can be found to power the refinery.

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