VIDEO: Will better results halt BHP, Rio cost-cutting plans?

Anglo-Australian mining majors BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto posted better-than-expected results for 2013, pleasantly surprising shareholders still reeling from last year's massive writedowns.

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Rio Tinto saw earnings swing up by 10% in 2013 on the back of record production levels and cost reductions.

BHP Billiton saw core earnings rise by 16% from July to December 2013, to $16.52 billion.

The miner put its uptick in profitability down to the an improvement in productivity and higher output levels. The miner also suspended a number of capital expenditure projects and is in the process of swtichingmanagement of its Western Australian iron ore business in-house.

Rio Tinto has completed $3.5 billion worth of non-core asset sales in the past year after writing-down $14 billion. It’s diamond, aluminium and Canadian iron ore businesses – assets which were expected to be divested last year – are no longer for sale, according to ceo Sam Walsh.

With profits increasing yet iron ore prices declining, in this video Steel First raw materials editor Michelle Madsen asks if the miners’ cost-cutting measures will carry on through 2014.