Mining giant Rio Tinto has produced record amounts of iron ore in the September quarter.
Rio Tinto’s share of iron ore production in the three months to September 30 was 47.608Mt, up from 43.61Mt in the June quarter.
Rio Tinto said its global iron ore operations were expected to continue producing at close to nameplate capacity for the remainder of the year.
Full year iron ore production is expected to be about 179Mt on an attributable basis to Rio Tinto and 234Mt on a 100% basis, which also includes its joint venture partners’ share of production.
Attributable iron ore production during the first nine months of this year was 10% higher than the same period of 2009.
Rio Tinto’s Hamersley operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region benefited during the September quarter from the ramp-up of new replacement tonnes at the Brockman 4 and Western Turner Syncline mines.
‘‘This quarter, we achieved record production in iron ore, alumina and coking coal,’’ chief executive Tom Albanese said. ‘‘We continue to run our operations at close to, or above, capacity rates, taking advantage of strong prices for our products.
Mr Albanese said Rio Tinto had delivered consistently strong operating performance in 2010 and the third quarter was no exception.
"We approved more than $US4bn of capital projects during the third quarter, including investment towards the expansion of our Pilbara iron ore operations to 330Mt/y," Mr Albanese said.
“This takes our total approvals this year to $US5.5bn and is consistent with our capex guidance of $US13bn over the 18 months to December 2011.”