The slump in the iron ore price did not affect Rio Tinto’s operating performance as the mining giant posted another first half record for iron ore production and shipments.
According to the media release by Rio Tinto, Australia’s biggest iron ore producer increased production by 11% in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the corresponding period of last year, with shipments rising 23% to 75.7 million tonnes.
The company said it achieved its set goal to mine and ship 290 million tonnes a year in May, two months ahead of schedule, while also completing its rail network upgrade to cope with up to 360 million tonnes of iron ore a year.
“Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low cost producer,” noted Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive Sam Walsh.
“It has allowed us to increase shipments of our Pilbara Blend products, providing our customers with reliable, long-term supply of stable quality.”
In addition, the company also posted a 28% increase in its copper output for the quarter to almost 165,000 tonnes, as well as a 6% increase in production of steel-making coal.
However, Rio’s bauxite production fell 7%, as did the semi-soft and thermal coal output, whereas aluminium output was flat.
“Healthy copper volumes reflect higher grades and recoveries at Kennecott Utah Copper, as well as the ramp up at Oyu Tolgoi. With a relentless focus on achieving sustainable cost savings while delivering the highest quality growth, we continue to transform Rio Tinto into a stronger, more disciplined business that will consistently deliver strong cash flows and shareholder value,” Mr Walsh said.