Fortescue’s production up as prices increase

Twiggy Forrest has raked in more than $500 million in one day, as his company reports a 9 per cent rise in iron ore production through their continued expansion plans in Australia.

Twiggy Forrest has raked in more than $500 million in one day, as his company reports a 9 per cent rise in iron ore production through their continued expansion plans in Australia.

Fortescue Metals Group has produced 9.93 million tonnes in the December quarter and sent their stocks – and Forrest’s worth – skyrocketing.

The company’s quarterly report said that higher commodity prices have offset the stronger Australian dollar increasing operating costs in the period.

Iron ore shipments fell 1.5 per cent in the final quarter of 2010, but are expected to rise in the next.

Paul Hallam, from FMG, says the company is planning to increase its Christmas Creek operation in the Pilbara this year and says they are dealing with the increased demand for labour.

"On the labour front it’s a challenge for every development in Australia at the moment but we’re not currently seeing any restrictions on the labour availability into Fortescue, in fact quite the opposite," he said.

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s net worth has now topped $7 billion, and earned $1.5 million for every minute shares traded yesterday.

The Foretscue board also gave approval for an investment of $8.5 billion that will triple its iron ore production from 55 million tonnes to 155 million tonnes per year.

The company said it sold its iron ore at an average of $US150 per tonne in the December quarter, up from $US125 in the September quarter.

The Perth-based company shipped 10.59 million tonnes, including those for third parties, of iron ore, which is an increase of 3.2 per cent.

It increased its shipment for third parties by 277 per cent in the December quarter, from  175 998 tonnes the previous period to 663 952.

Previously, ore mined by Fortescue was down, from 11.05 Mt to 11.03 Mt.

The company is also in discussions with a new customer in South Korea, according to executive director Rissel Scrimshaw.

Fortescue is Australia’s third biggest iron ore producer, behind Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

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