Fortescue Metals Group has achieved a record shipment of iron ore in the December 2019 quarter with 46.4 million tonnes.
This led to record shipments for the first half of the 2020 financial year with 88.6 million tonnes.
Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines expects shipments at the end of the financial year to be at the upper end of the 170 to 175 million tonne guidance.
“Once again, the Fortescue team has achieved outstanding results, demonstrated by multiple records,” Gaines said.
“Excellent operational performance across all mines, rail and port was maintained to deliver shipments of 46.4 million tonnes, a 9 per cent improvement on the corresponding period last year.”
The news came as Fortescue announced it was set to invest $US450 million ($666 million) into the next stage of its Pilbara energy connect program.
The program, called the Pilbara Generation project, will combine 150 megawatts of gas fired generation with 150 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation.
This will be supplemented by large scale battery storage that will be constructed, owned and operated by Fortescue.
The Pilbara Generation project complements Fortescue’s existing $US250 million Pilbara transmission project announced last October, which will provide low cost power to the Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Together, the transmission and generation projects will provide Fortescue with a hybrid solar gas energy solution that will deliver low cost power to Iron Bridge.
Fortescue also came into an agreement with Alinta Energy last year to build the Chichester solar gas hybrid project.
It will see up to 100 per cent of daytime stationary energy requirements of the Chichester Hub iron ore operations in the Pilbara powered by renewable energy.
Gaines said this US$700 million commitment to electricity generation and transmission infrastructure would significantly slash carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.
“The modelling indicates by installing 150 megawatts of solar PV we will avoid up to 285,000 tonnes of CO2e per year in emissions, as compared to generating electricity solely from gas,” she said.
“Pilbara energy connect allows for large scale renewable generation such as solar or wind to be connected at any point on the integrated network, positioning Fortescue to readily increase our use of renewable energy in the future.”
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These record iron ore numbers are also indirectly driving recommissioning activities among previously mothballed iron ore mines.
In NE Brazil, a jv between AIM listed Cadence Minerals #KDNC and Singapore based commodities group IndoSino Pte Ltd will see the former Anglo American (AAL) and Cliffs Natural Resources owned Amapá iron ore project recommissioned.
With key rail concessions granted to Cadence for shipping in December, this large-scale iron open pit ore mine with associated rail, port and beneficiation facilities is expected to produce 5.3 million tonnes of iron ore by 2024.