Atlas Iron ups production, cuts operating costs

Atlas Iron has reduced its cash costs and upped its iron ore production guidance.

In its September quarterly report, Atlas said all-in cash costs had come down from $75 per wet metric tonne (wmt) to $68.90 wmt.

This has led Atlas to cut its all-in cash cost guidance for fiscal 2015 to between $65 and $70 per wmt.

The company shipped 3.1Mt wmt, including 3Mt of Standard Fines in the three months to September 30.

Production for 2015 is expected to total 12.4Mt-13Mt (up from previous guidance of 12.2Mt-12.8Mt) and up 14-19 per cent from 10.9Mt shipped in 2014.

Atlas said the reduction in costs continues a material structural shift in the company’s overall cost base.

““This material reduction in costs across the business highlights Atlas’ ability to respond to changing market conditions,” Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said.

“The cost reductions, together with continued strong results from operations, will ensure Atlas remains competitive and can take advantage of iron ore price increases as they emerge.”

As a result of its cost improvement program, which has targeted operational, corporate, mine capital, project development and exploration spending, Atlas now expects to save a total of $65m-$90m per year, a significant increase from the $50m-$80m previously announced.

In addition to ongoing operational savings, Atlas has also reduced its forecast capital expenditure for 2015 by $31m to $94m.

Atlas said it plans to ramp up production at its Mt Webber mine to 6Mtpa during the March quarter.

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