Shares in Rio Tinto hit a more than four and a half year high on Tuesday after the company reported a lift in quarterly shipments from its iron ore operations in Western Australia.

The mining giant’s shares were trading up 0.3 per cent in Sydney at A$70.80, their highest level since February 2013 and marking a gain of more than 18 per cent this year.

The company reported that its Pilbara iron ore shipments in the third quarter rose 6 per cent from a year ago to 85.8m tonnes, helped by improved rail capacity.

That helped offset lower output and a reduced production target at its copper business.

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