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Rio Tinto's iron ore shipment record

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Rio Tinto has achieved record iron ore production and shipments in 2013.

Australia’s largest iron ore producer expanded production to a record 266 million tonnes and shipped 259 million tonnes of the steelmaking commodity, which is the nation’s largest earning export.

Both figures were up 5.0 per cent on the previous year.

They came on the back of strong lifts in December quarter movements despite the impact of cyclone Christina in the Western Australia Pilbara region at the end of the year.

The iron ore market was strong last year, trading between $US130 and $US140 a tonne for much of the second half of calendar 2013 positioning Rio well ahead of reporting its full year financial results next month.

The company says it expects to have completed its ramp up to 290 million tonnes a year by the end of the first half of 2014.

Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said the company had exceeded cost cutting targets for the year and announced or completed $US3.5 billion ($A3.92 billion) in non-core asset sales.

“These actions, together with lower capital expenditure in 2013 and beyond, will ensure that Rio Tinto is well positioned to deliver greater value to shareholders,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“These are excellent fourth quarter operational results, demonstrating continued delivery on our commitments.”

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