Rio Tinto sees copper growth, "more cautious" on outlook

Rio Tinto said on Tuesday it saw production growth ahead for its copper arm and remained "optimistic" on the outcome of talks with China on a power deal for its key Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project, but the miner warned it was cautious on the broader economic outlook.

Rio, in a statement ahead of a presentation on its copper business, said it expects copper production to increase from 2013 thanks to improving grades at existing mines and the start of production at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia. It expects a cumulative annual growth rate of 13 percent from 2011 to 2015.

But the global miner also warned the wider economic picture remained uncertain and said it would continue to cut costs.

"Significant stimulus efforts have been announced in China, the U.S. and Europe, but it's uncertain exactly when we will see the impact of these on our markets," Rio Tinto Chief Executive Tom Albanese said.

"Given this, and the considerable price fluctuations in recent times, we are somewhat more cautious on the outlook over the next few quarters."

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; editing by Kate Holton)