Mineral Resources (MinRes)’ ramp up of the Koolyanobbing operation in the Yilgarn, Western Australia has guided the company’s iron ore exports.
MinRes exported a record 6.7 million wet tonnes in the six months ending December last year during a period of strong market conditions.
The company enjoyed a 224 per cent increase in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $330 million during the half year on the prior corresponding period.
MinRes is on track to further increase Koolyanobbing production to 11 million tonnes a year by the end of February, before hiking to 15 million tonnes a year by the end of 2020.
“Our iron ore division, driven by the Koolyanobbing business, continues to outperform and we have had a very good half in our mining services business, including retaining existing contracts and winning new contracts,” MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said.
MinRes is scheduled to commence production at the newly-acquired Parker Range iron ore project in Western Australia during the first half of this year.
The Parker Range deposit, which was previously owned by Cazaly Iron, lies around 85 kilometres from Koolyanobbing.
MinRes’ lithium portfolio pales in comparison, with the company achieving lower prices for the spodumene products at the Mt Marion project in Western Australia.
The company exported a reduced proportion of higher grade spodumene due to “temporary mining conditions” last year.
MinRes has also sold its 60 per cent interest in the Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia to Albemarle Corporation due to challenging market conditions.
Ellison said this was a “tough decision but the right one” for MinRes. “I am pleased that we were able to find alternative employment for a majority of the affected team,” he concluded.