Fortescue maintains sights on 155m tpy target by end-2013

Fortescue Metals Group, the fourth-largest seaborne iron ore supplier in the world, still aims to reach a run-rate of 155 million tpy by the end of this year.

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That will entail a 60-million-tpy ramp-up at its Solomon Hub, which will consist of 20 million tpy from its Firetail mine scheduled to come on stream by the end of April, and another 40 million tpy from the Kings mine by the end of December 2013.

“The expansion will allow FMG to eventually lower its average production cost from the current $45-50 per tonne to about $38-40 per tonne, when the expansion projects ramp up,” Antony Priddy, the miner’s senior sales and marketing manager, told Steel First on the sidelines of Metal Bulletin’s China Iron Ore 2013 conference in Beijing.

FMG is in full force to go ahead with the expansion under current market conditions and has already delivered in excess of 210 million tonnes of iron ore to the market since its first shipment in 2008.

It is also well positioned after a $5 billion refinancing in October 2012 that pushed back its first debt repayment to November 2015.

FMG will soon deliver a new 58.3% Fe product called Fortescue Blend, to be made from Firetail fines and special fines, starting from May-June.

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