(Adds detail, CEO comments)
LONDON, April 3 Sierra Leone-focused iron ore
miner African Minerals gave 2014 production and cost
forecasts slightly worse than analyst expectations on Thursday,
as it posted an annual core profit compared with a loss the
The company said it was targeting sales of 16-18 million
tonnes with an expected average cash cost of $34-36 per tonne in
2014. Analysts at Jefferies and Canaccord said sales guidance
was lower than expected while costs remained stubbornly high.
Bernie Pryor, chief executive at African Minerals, said the
company was not yet 12 months into a full ramp up and the speed
with which production was being increased was in line with
similar projects in Australia or Brazil.
"This is a standard ramp up for a project of this size," he
told Reuters, adding that a sustainable run rate of 20 million
tonnes should be achieved by the second half of this year at
which point cash costs would approach $30 per tonne.
Shares in African Minerals were down 1.2 percent in early
Pryor also said the company was looking to announce a
dividend policy by the end of the year. "We recognise that
shareholders want to know how they're going to get value back,"
The miner posted earnings before tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) of $203 million from revenue of $869
million for the year ended Dec. 31.
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Silvia Antonioli
and Mark Potter)