Fortescue iron ore shipments fall slightly

Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has reported a minor drop in shipments for the December 2016 quarter.

Fortescue recorded shipments of 42.2 million tonnes (Mt) in the three months to end-December, a decline of four per cent on the previous quarter, but consistent with the company’s guidance, it said in an ASX announcement.

The company’s cash production costs declined by seven per cent against the September quarter and by 21 per cent over the previous 12 months to $US12.54 per tonne.

Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power said the quarter delivered consistent production and sustained cost reductions across its operations.

“Through continued focus on efficiency and productivity initiatives, cash production costs were lowered for the 12th consecutive quarter to $US12.54 per wet metric tonne (wmt),” Power said.

“Our strong operating results together with positive market conditions have generated excellent cash flow which supported a further $US1 billion of debt repayments in December.

“Initial gearing targets have been surpassed and it is pleasing to see the ratings agencies recognise our performance and upgrade their ratings and outlook accordingly.”

Fortescue’s guidance for the 2017 financial year remains at 165-170 million tonnes of shipped ore.

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