Rio Tinto exports surge

Rio Tinto has reported a 23% increase in iron ore shipments for the second quarter of 2014.

It exported 75.7mt in the three month period compared to a year ago. The figure was up 13.5% on the first quarter’s exports of 66.7mt.

Rio Tinto said it saw “record first half iron ore shipments” with exports up 20% to total 142.4mt.

The world’s second largest iron ore minor said second quarter production rose 11% year-on-year to just over 73mt.

The company said it was on track to produce 295mt of iron ore in 2014, up from 266mt last year. Shipments for the year should reach 300mt.

“Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low cost producer,” said Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh.

Rio Tinto said its rail network upgrade to cope with up to 360mt a year of iron ore is now complete, while its port upgrade remains on track to be finished by mid-2015.

China imported 457mt of iron ore in the first six months of the year, up 19% from a year earlier, according to recent customs data.

The world’s largest steel producer buys three in every five tons of iron ore shipped by global mining companies.