"Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low cost producer," said Rio Tinto's CEO, Sam Walsh after the company announced record H1 2014 iron ore shipments, production and rail volumes.
"It has allowed us to increase shipments of our Pilbara Blend products, providing our customers with reliable, long-term supply of stable quality," Walsh added.
Global iron ore shipments were up 23% at 75.7Mt during Q2 2014, an increase of 13% over Q1 2014. The company's H1 2014 total shipments were up 20% on the same period last year at 142.4Mt.
In terms of production, the company produced 73.1Mt of iron ore during Q2 2014, up 11% on the same period last year and up 10% on Q1 2014. During H1 2014, Rio Tinto produced 139.5Mt of iron ore, up 10% on H1 2013.
Back in May 2014, Rio Tinto announced that its Pilbara iron ore system of mines, rail and ports reached a run rate of 290Mt/yr – two months ahead of schedule.
Today, the rail duplication and trackwork required for the 360Mt/yr expansion has been completed. The critical 360Mt/yr port infrastructure remains on track for completion by the end of H1 2015.
Where coking coal is concerned, Rio claims that production of hard coking coal improved during the first half of the year (2014) following the completion of the Kestrel mine extension during H2 2013. Thermal coal production, said the company, set a new first half record and was up 6% on last year.