Rio Tinto just had a record iron ore quarter

Rio Tinto’s iron ore mine near Karratha in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Image: Aaron Bunch/Getty Images

Rio Tinto has hit its annual production forecasts after shipping a quarterly record of 90 million tonnes of iron ore from its Pilbara mines.

Iron ore shipments for the three months to December were up 3% on the same quarter last year. For the full 12 months, shipments were 330.1 million tonnes, a rise of just 1%.

“The business performed well in the fourth quarter, and we finished the year in line with guidance across all major products,” says chief executive J-S Jacques.

“In 2017 we announced over $8 billion of cash returns to shareholders and continued to reshape the portfolio.

“Our focus on value over volume and mine-to-market productivity, along with disciplined allocation of cash, will ensure that we continue to deliver superior shareholder returns in the short, medium and the long term.”

Here are the latest quarterly and full year production numbers from Rio Tinto:

Source: Rio Tinto

Rio managed to get an average price of $59.6 per wet metric tonne for its iron ore in 2017. That’s equivalent to $64.8 per dry metric tonne.

Mined copper production of 478.1 thousand tonnes was 9% lower than 2016 due mainly to the impact of a 43-day strike at Escondida in Chile in the first quarter.

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