Mining giant BHP Billiton said its iron ore production rose by a record amount in the third quarter.

Production of the key steelmaking ingredient rose by 11% in the June-to-September quarter to 30.1Mt. It was up 1% from the same period last year.

In its report, the world’s largest miner said developed economies were stabilising and there had been a flow of ‘increasingly positive news’ across most economies.

“We are starting to see some positive impact of re-stocking of pipelines, particularly in steelmaking raw materials, after a period when demand essentially disappeared,” BHP said.

The firm employs more than 40000 people across 25 countries. It has more than 100 operations across commodities including coal, iron ore, platinum, uranium, silver and diamonds. The company has benefitted in recent years from a China-driven resources boom.

“China’s re-stock of commodities is essentially complete and there is now evidence of higher than normal stockpiles across the supply chain,” BHP said. “We continue to look for Chinese imports to more closely reflect real demand over the remainder of 2009 calendar year.”

BHP said metals inventories were low in developed countries but there was still little evidence of ‘sustainable demand’ emerging since the end of summer in the northern hemisphere.

“We continue to stress that this developed economy improvement is not without volatility and is from a very low base. We maintain our view that real demand follow-through in developed economies may not be transparent until mid-2010,” it said.