Rio Tinto’s third quarter iron ore production improved to be just one per cent below the same period last year as staff returned to pre-COVID work rosters.

The miner produced 86.4 million tonnes of iron ore from the Western Australia’s Pilbara region, and has produced two per cent more after three quarters than the same time last year.

Rio said staff were still working under COVID-19 restrictions.

Iron ore shipments for the quarter of 82.1 million tonnes were down five per cent.

This was due to maintenance work at the Pilbara port, which had been postponed from the first half of the financial year.

This maintenance is due to continue during the fourth quarter.

Shares were down 0.65 per cent to $95.64 at 1133 AEDT on Friday.