Atlas Iron ships record volumes in 2014

Australia’s Atlas Iron shipped a record of 10.9 million tonnes of iron ore in fiscal 2014, beating the miner’s target of 10.7 million tonnes for the period.

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Volumes were also up by 47% on an annual basis, Atlas Iron said on Thursday July 10.

Shipments in the June quarter reached a record high of 3.1 million tonnes, which pushed the company’s run rate to 12 million tpy.

The iron ore market has softened this year as a result of the additional supply introduced by the major producers over a relatively short period. This, combined with current credit constraints in China, led to lower headline prices for the benchmark 62% Fe product and increased discounts in the second half, particularly the June quarter, Atlas md Ken Brinsden said.

“We are confident that the supply and demand balance for iron ore and the ‘value-in-use’ differential between products of differing grades, means both price and product discounts have likely overshot their natural range,” he said.

Iron ore mining companies are offering more discounts amid fiercer competition amongst sellers of lower-grade iron ore.

Many producers of 57-58% Fe iron ore have either increased discounts or started to offer discounts.

Fellow Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group has been steadying increasing price adjustments since the beginning of the year, while Atlas has given its contract buyers a 20% discount off its 57% Fe Standard Fines. Rio Tinto is also offering bigger discounts for Robe River fines and has started making concessions to buyers of its Yandicoogina fines.

Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe iron ore index was at $96.47 per tonne on Wednesday July 9. Prices have been below $100 per tonne since May 19, down more than 26% from 2013’s average of $135.90 per tonne cfr, as increased supply from Australia and Brazil floods the market.