Rio Tinto posted a 39% jump in its first-quarter iron ore output compared to the corresponding period last year driven by high demand from China and recovery in the West.

The company’s ore production for the quarter stood at 43.4 million metric tons compared to last year’s Q1 output of 31.2 million.

This year’s output, however, is down 8% from the 47.2 million metric tons Rio Tinto produced in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company said it expects to increase its output across its iron ore operations in Australia and Canada on a 100% basis, which it said it expects to rise to 234 million tons from 217 million last year.

Rio’s gold and molybdenum production stood at 12% and 58% higher than the first quarter of 2009.

Copper metal production for the quarter fell 16% while uranium output eased 20% from the first quarter of 2009.