Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) produced a record amount of iron ore in 2012 with total annual output of 253 million tonnes beating the company's own guidance.
According to results for the fourth quarter of 2012 which were publicly released shortly after 3pm, Rio Tinto stepped up operations during the final three months of year to produce 66 million tonnes.
Despite a rough year for iron ore producers due to easing growth in China and plunging spot prices, Rio managed to take advantage of a rebound in Chinese demand which has led to a sharp revival in prices over the past several months.
Iron ore prices have leaped a stunning 80% since September as demand from China's steel mills revived, while benchmark prices tapped a 15-month peak of $158.50 just last week.
Despite the upbeat news on the iron ore front Rio shares edged lower in Tuesday trading in Sydney, declining 0.14%.