Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto on Tuesday forecast global iron ore production of 265 million tonnes this year after posting record output in the March quarter. The mining titan said its global iron ore production from operations in Australia and Canada increased to 61 million tonnes in the three months to March, up four percent on the same period last year. This came despite three tropical cyclones in the quarter at its Pilbara business in Western Australia which forced shiploading to be suspended or slowed for several days. "Despite this temporary closure of the ports for shipping, the mine sites and rail haulage from mine to port continued to operate at close to capacity throughout the period," Rio said. The miner also reported a 26 percent first-quarter hike in mined copper production and a six percent increase in aluminium output. Detracting from the otherwise solid report was hard coking coal production, which slipped three percent. Chief executive Sam Walsh said the business "achieved a solid performance in the first quarter, recovering rapidly from the seasonal weather disruptions" and that good progress had been made on cost-cutting targets. "My streamlined executive committee structure is now in place and demanding targets for 2013, including for cash cost savings, are locked into our performance measures," he said. "We are making good progress in achieving our cost-reduction targets and other priorities for 2013, and are determined in our pursuit of greater value for shareholders." In February, Rio posted its first annual loss in 18 years, plunging US$2.99 billion into the red on hefty writedowns on its Mozambique coal and aluminium businesses and a dip in commodity prices. The result prompted the resignation of chief executive Tom Albanese, who was replaced by Walsh.