Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-biggest iron ore exporter, said fourth-quarter production rose 12 percent amid a global glut that has sent prices tumbling, Bloomberg News reported.
Output in the three months to Dec. 31 rose to 79.1 million metric tons from 70.4 million tons a year earlier, Rio said in a statement Tuesday.
For the entire year, production rose to 295.4 million tons from 266 million tons, the company said, adding that output in 2015 could reach 330 million tons.
Vale SA, the biggest exporter of the raw material for making steel, says it will produce 340 million tons this year.
“We have had a successful year of production, capped off with a robust fourth quarter,” Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said in the statement. “Output is in line with our targets across all of our major products.”
Increasing supply of low-cost ore from Australia and Brazil is outpacing demand growth in China, the biggest consumer, spurring a 47 percent plunge in prices last year, the news agency said. The global surplus will swell to more than 200 million tons in 2018 from 35 million tons this year, according to UBS AG.
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