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UPDATE 1-Fortescue just misses iron ore target, completes expansion
July 11, 2014 / 3:00 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fortescue just misses iron ore target, completes expansion

* Australia’s Fortescue misses “stretch” production guidance

* Says $9.2 billion expansion complete

* Sees near-term recovery in world iron ore prices (Recasts with guidance target, analyst forecast)

SYDNEY, July 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group full-year iron ore shipments came in slightly below target despite hitting an above-capacity output rate in June, the world’s fourth-biggest miner of the steel-making material said on Friday.

Fortescue also joined other iron ore miners in predicting a quick recovery in iron ore prices, which have fallen as much as 30 percent since January, on an expectation that higher cost producers in China and elsewhere will soon exit the market.

In a statement, Fortescue said it shipped 124.2 million tonnes of iron ore in financial 2014, which included material owned by fellow miner BC Iron Ltd and handled by Fortescue, just below its guidance of 127 million tonnes.

The shortfall was signaled earlier in the year by Fortescue Chief Executive Nev Power, who said the target would be “stretch” following a weaker-than-expected march quarter.

In the quarter ended June 30, shipments totaled 38.7 million tonnes, or an annualised output rate of 155 million tonnes - Fortescue’s design rate.

It said that rate was exceeded in June, with 13.3 million tonnes produced, representing a 160,000-tonne-per-year rate.

Capital spending in financial 2014 came in slightly below guidance at $1.9 billion.

Iron ore prices fell to a 21-month low at $89 a tonne in June as a flood of new supply overwhelmed demand in top buyer China. Prices have since recovered to $96.90 .IO62-CNI=SI but are still down nearly 28 percent so far this year.

The company sold its ore at an average price of $106 per dry metric tonne in fiscal 2014, under the benchmark price which averaged $122 per tonne over the same period.

It cost an average $34 per tonne to mine its ore over the year, according to Fortescue.

After adding shipping, royalties and administration costs of $18 per tonne, the delivered cost rose to an average of $52, Fortescue said.

Rio Tinto breaks even at around $43 a tonne, while BHP needs a $45 iron ore price to stay in the black.

Sector analyst Wood Mackenzie estimates at least 40 million to 50 million tonnes of higher cost Chinese mine production has been earmarked for closure.

Fortescue shares eased 0.7 percent to A$4.32, underperforming a 0.7 percent rise in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

Reporting By James Regan and Jane Wardell; Editing by Richard Pullin

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