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Rio Tinto’s record output another sign of shifting luck for miners

by Cecilia Jamasmie | January 16, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of

Rio Tinto NYE:RIO has given investors fresh reasons to smile as the world’s second-largest miner beat its 2013 cost-cutting targets and reported January 15 record-high output of iron ore, coal and other minerals.

Rio Tinto’s record output another sign of shifting luck for miners

CEO Sam Walsh passed
his first year at the helm
with flying colours.

The company is the first of the diversified mining giants to report its 2013 annual production figures, which showed strong growth despite industry concerns of weakening Chinese demand for steel and the impact of cyclone Christine in the Western Australia Pilbara region.

Rio, the world’s second-largest iron ore miner behind Brazil’s Vale NYE:VALE, said production of the steel-making material reached 70.4 million tonnes in the fourth quarter last year, a 6% increase compared to the same period in 2012. The commodity accounts for about 85% of Rio’s earnings.

Production of copper—Rio’s other key earner—jumped up 15% last year with 631,500 tonnes mined, well above expectations of 590,000 tonnes.

The mining giant also said it implemented $2 billion in operating cost cuts and slashed exploration costs by $1 billion, exceeding the $750-million target set for 2013.

The healthy figures triggered the biggest one-day rally for the miner’s shares since November. Shares in the company closed 2.09% higher than January 15 on the Australian Securities Exchange at AU$65.6 each, while in London shares were up almost 3.8%, hitting £3,374 each at 9:30 a.m. ET.

A few of the firm’s largest shareholders and former executives applauded Sam Walsh’s first year as CEO, with some stating they are ready to increase their stakes in the diversified miner.

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