Commodities, Finance, Iron ore, News, Production

Fortescue firing on all cylinders


Fortescue Metals Group is making a habit of breaking records, achieving another record quarter of iron ore shipments.

The major miner shipped 49.5 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore for the quarter, culminating in a record result for the 2021–22 financial year (FY22), where 189Mt set sail across the 12 months.

The result, which comes after Fortescue shipped 46.5Mt and 47.5Mt in the previous two quarters, is indicative of an iron ore operation firing on all cylinders.

Strong cash flow generation contributed to $US5.2 billion cash on hand and $US0.9 billion of net debt at the end of FY22. Fortescue had $US2.4 billion of net debt at the end of the previous quarter.

The company’s C1 (direct production) cost in the June quarter of $US17.19 per wet metric tonnes (wmt) was 9 per cent higher than the previous quarter due to higher diesel costs, labour rates and other consumables.

C1 costs averaged $US15.91/wmt across FY22, which Fortescue said exemplifies its leading cost position and commitment to achieving productivity gains through innovation and technology.

Fortescue is aiming to ship 187–192Mt of iron ore in FY23, with the Iron Bridge operation to come online towards the end of FY23.

The major miner’s capital expenditure (capex) guidance for FY23 (excluding Fortescue Future Industries) is $US2.7–3.1 billion after spending $US3.1 billion on capex in FY22.

Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the company was also focused on its sustainability objectives.

“Fortescue continued to significantly advance its decarbonisation objectives in the quarter, as evidenced by the strategic partnership with Tier 1 global equipment manufacturer Liebherr for the development and supply of zero-emission green mining haul trucks,” she said.

“The agreement leverages the capabilities and value created through Fortescue’s acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).”

Completing the WAE acquisition in March, the major miner will capitalise on the technology company’s expertise in high-performance battery systems and electrification, a key component of its growth strategy moving forward.

WAE will be vertically integrated into the company and be managed by Fortescue Future Industries.

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