Fortescue Metals Group is gearing up to launch the Eliwana iron ore project in Western Australia by the end of 2020 off the back of posting record first quarter shipments from its Pilbara operations.
The company is on track to meet its 2021 financial year production guidance after delivering the record for the September quarter.
Its 44.3 million tonnes of shipments for the September period represented a 5 per cent increase compared with the first quarter of the 2020 financial year.
The company also achieved record first quarter performance of ore processed and railed during the period, processing 46 million tonnes of ore to sneak above the 45.1 million tonnes accomplished in quarter one of 2020 financial year.
Iron ore shipments were, however, lower than in the fourth quarter of 2020 financial year (47.3 million tonnes), which the company said were reflective of planned seasonal maintenance activity across its Pilbara operations.
Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the strong first quarter performance helps the company to continue its growth strategy.
“A record result for first quarter shipments was achieved with lower C1 costs of $US12.74 ($18.07) per wet metric tonne, reflecting our continued focus on cost discipline,” Gaines said.
“Robust demand from our customers contributed to an increase in revenue realisation, 31 per cent higher than the June quarter.
“We have successful grown and diversified our distribution channels, with portside sales in China by Fortescue Metals Group Trading Shanghai now exceeding 10 million tonnes sine sales commenced in June 2019.”
Fortescue remains on schedule to complete its Eliwana mine and rail project in Western Australia, where it has commenced pre-strip mining and ore stockpiling.
The construction workforce at Eliwana is at peak levels, completing tracklaying and electrical instrumentation installation. The first ore on train from Eliwana is scheduled for this December.
Fortescue is also on schedule and budget for its Iron Bridge magnetite project, also in Western Australia, achieving key milestones in the quarter, including more than 80 per cent completion of earthworks and pouring the first concrete for the ore processing facility.
Village installation and aerodrome construction is at an advanced phase, leading into the main construction phase.
Fortescue forecasts that it will ship its first concentrate from Iron Bridge during the first half of the 2022 calendar year.