Rio Tinto posts rise in iron ore production

Sydney, Oct 16 (IANS) Global mining giant Rio Tinto posted a 17 percent rise in third quarter iron ore production, remaining on track to meet full year guidance of 340 million tonnes.

Rio announced on Friday it shipped 91.3 million tonnes of iron ore in the three months to September while production was up 12 percent at 86.1 million tonnes, reported Xinhua.

The mining giant drew on stockpiles from both its Australian and Canadian operations – four million tonnes and one million tonne respectively – to boost sales.

Rio was forced to pare back a previous production target of 350 million tonnes earlier in the year following unseasonal weather events, including two cyclones, near it’s Australian mines.

Along with rivals BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale, Rio Tinto has been increasing production despite falling iron ore prices in an effort to corner the global market, forcing out higher cost producers.

The glut in global iron ore supply has seen prices drop from a high of nearly $200 per tonne in 2011 to forecasts of below $50 within two years. On Friday the spot price of iron ore for immediate delivery was $53.20 per tonne.

Fortescue Metals on Thursday announced it shipped almost 42 million tones of iron ore for the September quarter, expecting 142 million tonnes for the Australian financial year below the current trading price for an average realized price of $50 per tonne.

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