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LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto's iron ore cost of production has fallen from an average of $19.50 a tonne in 2014 to around $17 so far this year, the head of the world's second-largest mining company said on Thursday.
The reduction was thanks to a cheaper Australian dollar, which benefited Rio's giant iron ore mines in Australia, and a weaker oil price, Chief Executive Sam Walsh said during the company's annual general meeting.
Rio Tinto, the world's cheapest supplier of iron ore to China, as well as rivals BHP Billiton and Vale , are trying to cut production costs to the bone to remain competitive after a tumble in the price of iron ore in the last couple of years. (Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; Editing by Mark Potter)