Fortescue Metals Group has capitalised on strong demand from international customers by finishing the first half of the 2021 financial year with a record 90.7 million tonnes in iron ore shipments.
This was increased by a shipment of 46.4 million tonnes in the December quarter, comprising 18.3 million wet metric tonnes of Fortescue’s blend, 14.2 million wet metric tonnes of super special fines, 3.9 million wet metric tonnes of Kings fines and 3.8 million wet metric tonnes of West Pilbara fines.
The company also hit major project milestones during the quarter, transitioning the Eliwana mine in the Pilbara into operation, and completing construction and installation of a wet high-intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS) plant at the Christmas Creek ore processing facility during the quarter.
With the WHIMS plant complete, Fortescue will be able to recover a higher portion of fine grain ore feed that usually goes to the tailings dam, allowing for higher yields during the second half of the financial year.
Activity at the Iron Bridge magnetite project is also accelerating, with the engineering process reaching 90 per cent and bulk earthworks on the processing plant 90 per cent complete.
Construction has commenced at the concentrate handling facility at Port Hedland, with pipeline installation to begin this quarter.
Company chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said delivering these projects on schedule at an industry-low capital intensity was a remarkable effort, especially given the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Fortescue is continuing to deliver strong results across all measures,” Gaines said.
“Record shipments of 90.7 million tonnes surpassed any half year since Fortescue’s inception and we are very well placed to meet the sustained strength in demand from our customers.
“In December we celebrated the significant milestones of the first ore processed and commissioning train at the Eliwana mine. Across the business our entire team is achieving excellent operational performance while continuing to manage challenges associated with COVID-19.”