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Rio Tinto continued its expansion spree in 2012 despite volatility in prices as it bet high on prospects of economic recovery which would raise demand for the commodity from the steel industry

15 Jan 2013

LONDON (Commodity Online): Rio Tinto may increase iron ore production to 291 mn tons in 2013 after achieving four percent growth in 2012 at 253 mn tons. The company’s iron ore shipments were at record 247 mn tones despite severe weather disruptions and a significant maintenance shut down during the year.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said "This was another year of strong operational performance across the Group. We achieved record annual iron ore production and shipments as our expansion programme continues on schedule, delivering industry leading returns for our shareholders. Our copper, bauxite, alumina, thermal coal and titanium dioxide businesses all delivered substantial production increases on 2011 levels.

"Markets remain volatile, but our business continues to perform well. Across the Group we are taking action to roll back unsustainable cost increases. This further enhances our resilience and competitive edge as we enter 2013."

Rio Tinto, the world's second-biggest producer behind Brazil's Vale , has stuck to an aggressive expansion plan in iron ore even after the market was rattled for much of last year by worries over top buyer China.

Iron ore prices have climbed up sharply in the past few weeks on positive China data, buying by steel mills and announcement of urbanisation, infrastructure projects by the government which will raise the demand for steel. 

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