(Adds suspension of operations at higher-cost mining operations, paragraphs 2-3)
BRASILIA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Monday it produced 88.2 million tonnes of iron ore in the third quarter, an all-time high for the company, as it continues to raise output into an already oversupplied market.
Despite the new record, the world’s No. 1 iron ore miner also suspended higher-cost mining operations accounting for about 13 million tonnes of annual production.
They will largely be replaced by ore coming onstream from new lower-cost mines in a move to improve profit margins in the face of weak global iron ore prices.
The company’s record production keeps up pressure on Australian rivals BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto who are engaged in a battle for market share as an iron ore price slump forces smaller producers to close. The price of iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI has fallen to $52.50 per tonne from a high of nearly $200 in 2011.
Vale said it also produced 71,600 tonnes of nickel and 2.05 million tonnes of coal in the period. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer Edited by W Simon)