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Fortescue Metals forecasts rise in iron ore shipments for 2023-24

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner, has projected a modest increase in its iron ore shipments for the 2023-24 period, driven by robust performance in its core Western Australian mines and early tonnage from a new project in Gabon.

In a statement to the ASX on Thursday, the company stated that it anticipates shipping between 192 million and 197 million tonnes of ore in the year ending June 30, 2024. This marks an increase from the 192 million tonnes shipped in 2022-23 (equivalent to 189 million tonnes in the year to June 2022).

If Fortescue achieves the higher figure, it will achieve a fifth consecutive record year for its core iron ore exports.

During the June quarter, Fortescue reported shipping 48.9 million tonnes of ore, slightly lower than the 49.5 million tonnes shipped during the same period the previous year.

Fortescue Metals CEO Fiona Hick emphasized the strong performance of their hematite operations and their focus on growth through the safe and efficient ramp-up of Iron Bridge, the unlocking of Belinga’s potential, and the decarbonization of their iron ore operations.

First ore has been mined and loaded on a train at the Belinga Iron Ore Project in Gabon, with the first shipment expected by the end of the calendar year 2023.

Ms. Hick further stated, “Building on another year of record performance, our guidance for FY24 is for total shipments in the range of 192 – 197 million tonnes.”

“Our hematite operations are performing strongly, and we are focused on delivering growth through the safe and efficient ramp-up of Iron Bridge, unlocking the potential of Belinga, and decarbonizing our iron ore operations.”

She added, “We will continue to invest in green metals, green energy, and green technologies, supported by our strong balance sheet and disciplined capital allocation.”

Fortescue reported an average price per tonne of $US94.74 in the year to June, which was not significantly different from the $US100 per dry metric tonne figure for 2021-22. Costs rose 10% over the year, averaging $US17.54 per wet metric tonne of iron ore.

The Iron Bridge mine initiated production of high-grade magnetite concentrate during the quarter, with the first concentrate being shipped on July 24.

Fortescue remains committed to its decarbonisation efforts, with the delivery of the first battery electric haul truck prototype to the Christmas Creek site for testing under Pilbara operating conditions.

The company reported robust cash flow generation during the June quarter and the full year, ending June 30, with a cash balance of $US4.3 billion and net debt of $US1.0 billion. This compares to a net debt of $US2.1 billion at the end of the March quarter and $US900 million at the end of the 2021-22 financial year.