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Rio Quarterly Iron-Ore Output Rises 6% to Beat Expectations

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-biggest mining company, said first-quarter iron ore output rose a more-than-estimated 6 percent as the company expanded mines in Australia.

Rio’s share of production was 48.3 million metric tons, from 45.6 million tons a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. That beat the 47.7 million-ton median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg and compares with the 52 million tons produced in the previous quarter.

“Our operations achieved a solid performance in the first quarter, recovering rapidly from the seasonal weather disruptions,” Chief Executive Officer Sam Walsh said in the statement.

Equity and commodity markets tumbled after China, the biggest metals user, yesterday reported economic growth unexpectedly lost momentum last quarter, further pressuring profit expectations for global miners. BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, said last week it expects annual Chinese GDP growth to moderate toward 6 percent later this decade.

Rio fell 0.7 percent to A$54.67 at 3:13 p.m. in Sydney trading.

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