Fortescue Metals Group braved sustaining COVID-19 disruptions to notch another record quarter of iron ore shipments.
The major miner shipped 46.5 million tonnes (Mt) of the commodity in the first three months of 2022, which was 10 per cent higher than the first quarter of 2021. This amounted to record shipments (139.5Mt) for the nine months to March 31.
Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said a new contributor boosted the company’s output across the three months.
“This strong performance is underpinned by the successful delivery and ramp up of the Eliwana project, and execution of our integrated operations and marketing strategy,” she said.
“We maintain a strong focus on safety and a commitment to zero harm, with TRIFR (total recordable injury frequency rate) improving to 1.8 in the 12 months to March 31.
“This was a particularly pleasing performance while managing the ongoing challenges resulting from COVID-19, with Fortescue successfully mitigating potential disruptions to our operations in the quarter by maintaining a comprehensive COVID-19 management plan to safeguard team members and communities through investment in business continuity planning.”
As a result of the strong output, Fortescue has upgraded its shipment guidance from 180 – 185Mt to 185 – 188Mt for the 2022 financial year.
The company’s C1 cost guidance has been revised from $US15 – $US15.50 per wet metric tonne (wmt) to $US15.75 – $US16/wmt. This came as the company’s C1 cost increased by three per cent in the first quarter of 2022 to $US15.78/wmt.
“Strong volumes and an ongoing focus on cost management were offset by market inflation across key input costs, including diesel, other consumables and labour rates,” the company stated in its quarterly report.
Gaines said Fortescue’s transition to a vertically integrated green energy and resources company continues to gain momentum.
“During the quarter, Fortescue completed the acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), providing Fortescue with critical technology and expertise in high-performance battery systems and electrification, with key integration activities well advanced,” she said.
“Together with Fortescue Future Industries, WAE will develop the Infinity Train, the world’s first regenerating battery electric iron ore train, eliminating diesel and the associated CO2 emissions from Fortescue’s iron ore trains.”