UK-based diversified miner Rio Tinto has reported a 16% increase in its 2012 thermal coal output when compared to the previous financial year.

Increased production was a result of enhanced plant capacity at Bengalla and the continued upgrade at Clermont.

Production improvement was further boosted by a reversal of one-off disruptions in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Hard coking coal production, however, declined by 9% in 2012 due to the impact of a planned dragline maintenance at Hail Creek and a major preparation plant shutdown at Kestrel.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese termed 2012 to be another year of strong operational performance across the group.

"Markets remain volatile, but our business continues to perform well. Across the Group we are taking action to roll back unsustainable cost increases. This further enhances our resilience and competitive edge as we enter 2013," said Albanese.

Thermal coal production from the company’s Australian operations was 15% higher in 2012 whereas for the Q4 of 2012 it was 37% higher.