The Rio Tinto Group surpassed 2013’s cost-cutting agenda in wake of Q4’s soaring Chinese iron ore demand. Production, according to a statement by the top miner, increased 7% to 55.5 million metric tons (mt) as cash costs were cut by $2 billion.

Exploration spending commodity-wide, meanwhile, was reduced by more than 50% to $948 million in 2013, exceeding targets announced by CEO Sam Walsh after replacing Tom Albanese in Q1 following disastrous aluminum and coal deals. The announcements come amid a five-year, $5 billion spending reduction program.

The cuts came even as thermal coal production, bauxite and iron ore rose to record levels, Walsh said, after having already approved a 25% operational expansion in Western Australia valued at $2 billion.

China’s iron ore imports increased 10% in 2013. Overall, China represents 60% of global demand.