Sydney - Mining giant Rio Tinto unveiled fresh production and shipment records for its flagship iron ore business yesterday, with both up an annual 5 percent last year.

The Anglo-Australian group said iron ore shipments were up 6 percent quarter on quarter in the final three months of the year and production was 3 percent higher.

Iron ore output for the full year was 266 million tons, 1 million tons ahead of guidance despite a cyclone forcing operations to shut down for several days in December.

“These are excellent fourth-quarter operational results, demonstrating continued delivery on our commitments,” Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said.

“We have set new records for iron ore production and shipments as we ramp up our 290 (million tons a year) expansion, as well as achieving an impressive recovery in copper volumes and record annual production for bauxite and thermal coal.” - Sapa-AFP