(Corrects typographical error in headline)
Dec 17 (Reuters) - Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group on Monday announced the first shipment of its new mid-grade iron ore and said it expected to produce 5-10 million tonnes of the commodity next year.
The shipment of 60.1-percent West Pilbara Fines iron ore went to customers in China, but Fortescue did not disclose volumes.
The miner said that output of the product would grow to 40 million tonnes annually from 2020, buoyed after its high-grade Eliwana mine begins production in December that year.
West Pilbara Fines are produced by blending higher-grade ores with lower quality ores.
Fortescue’s lower grade ore has fallen out of favour in recent years as Chinese mills, enjoying high steel prices and eager to cut emissions, have shifted to higher grade product from rivals such as Brazil’s Vale and Rio Tinto .
Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru Editing by Joseph Radford