Rio Tinto Q3 Iron Ore Output Up, Maintains 2012 Guidance

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | October 16, 2012 5:12 PM EST

Despite a volatile global market, Rio Tinto still managed to jack up its iron ore production by as much as five per cent in the September quarter to 62.9 million tonnes compared from 2011, beating analysts' and industry expectations.

Analysts had predicted the world's no. 2 iron ore producer would get to churn out only as much as 59.8 million tonnes.

"Markets remain volatile, but our business is resilient and our operations are performing strongly," Chief Executive Tom Albanese said in the company's quarterly activities report.

With production in the first nine months of 2012 having already reached 187 million tonnes, Rio Tinto expects to produce 250 million tonnes overall this year. moreover, in spite of slumping iron ore prices, the iron ore producer plans to push through with the next stage of its expansion to 283 million tonnes a year by the end of 2013.

The company likewise reported that iron ore production from the Pilbara region for the nine months to September was 117.1 million tonnes, also five percent higher than the previous corresponding period.

"Production continued to exceed sales as the business prepared itself for the expansion to 283 Mt/a, with a measured build-up of stocks at the mine sites," the miner said.

Third quarter sales of 61 million tonnes jumped three per cent higher compared from a year ago, while year to date sales of 170 million tonnes likewise surged four per cent.

"As we said at our investor seminar last week, markets remain volatile, but our business is resilient and our operations are performing strongly, reflecting our consistent strategy of running large, long-life, cost-competitive operations," Mr Albanese said.

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