Miners perform a cost-stripping tease

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have delivered record production volumes, but falling commodity prices mean they need to reduce costs quickly if they are to deliver the shareholder returns expected.

Over the past week, both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have produced strong production growth across their key commodities. Unhappily, however, that news has coincided with a sharp downwards break in iron ore prices.

Last week, Rio’s annual production report showed record production in iron ore, bauxite and thermal coal. For Rio it’s all about iron ore, given that the division completely dominates its profitability.

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