RIO Tinto says it is confident of hitting its iron ore production target this year after a jump in output over the past three months.
The mining giant has revealed iron ore shipments climbed 4 per cent to 68 million tonnes in the quarter compared with the same period last year.
Iron ore production rose two per cent to 68.3 million tonnes over the same period.
Rio says that subject to weather conditions, it can hit its full-year production target of 265 million tonnes.
Chief executive Sam Walsh said Rio had achieved strong production results for iron ore in the three months to September.
Rio expects refined copper production to be about 270,000 tonnes during 2013.
Productivity improvements in Rio’s Australian operations also led to record quarterly thermal coal production.
Mr Walsh said Rio had strengthened its balance sheet as it delivered growth projects.
“We are also making further important gains in productivity across our operations and continue to drive costs out of the business,” he said.
Invast chief market analyst Peter Esho said Rio’s production update was strong.
“If Rio continues to report solid numbers, cuts costs and benefits from an improvement in iron ore and copper prices – the latter yet to materialise – then it can easily see its share-price with an ‘eight’ in front of it,” Mr Esho said.
Rio’s Australian-listed shares closed 2.5 per cent higher yesterday at $ 63.20.