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Australia's Fortescue increases iron ore shipments in Q4


13:50, January 24, 2013

SYDNEY, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Fortescue Metals, Australia's iron ore production and exploration company, on Thursday reported a 32 percent rise in its shipments of iron ore in the December 2012 quarter.

Fortescue said total iron ore shipped for the quarter were 19.6 million tonnes, up 22 percent on the prior quarter and 32 percent higher than the previous corresponding period.

The company said it had achieved an annualized shipping run rate of more than 100 million tonnes a year.

Higher shipments were a result of increased production from its processing facility at Christmas Creek and early mining activity at the Firetail deposit in its Solomon project, the company said on Thursday.

The development of the Firetail mine is in line with expectations and is scheduled to reach a capacity of 20 million tonnes of ore a year by the end of the March 2013 quarter, increasing Fortescue's annualized production to 115 million tonnes a year, it said.

Fortescue's production guidance remains between 82 and 84 million wet metric tonnes (wmt) for the 2012/13 financial year.

"Fortescue expects market conditions in China will continue to stabilize in the near term," Fortescue said in a statement.

"With China's new leadership starting to rejuvenate programs of economic growth and urbanization, steel demand is expected to increase and support iron ore prices."

Fortescue shares were up three cents at 4.69 AU dollars at 13: 35 local time on Thursday.

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