World no. 2 iron ore miner Rio Tinto said expansion work at its mines and productivity gains led to a sharp rise in iron ore output as it steps up shipments to Chinese steel mills.
The company, which competes with Vale and BHP Billiton in the seaborne iron ore market, said it was on track to produce 295 million tons of the steel-making material in 2014, up from 266 million last year. Shipments for the year should reach 300 million tons.
"Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low cost producer," Rio Tinto said in its second-quarter production report on Wednesday.
Second-quarter iron ore shipments climbed 23 percent on the same period a year ago to 75.7 million tons, while production of the steel-making ingredient rose 11 percent to 73.1 million, the company said.
Analysts have begun to question the expansion plans of big iron ore miners following a market correction tied to a slowdown in China's economic growth to its weakest in 23 years.