STAFF REPORTER/ AAP
Monday, 07 January 2013 10:03
Atlas Iron has had a busy start to the New Year with the start of production at the company’s Mt Dove iron ore mine in December, closely followed by the commencement of major mining activity at its Abydos mine and its Utah Point port facilities, as part of its Horizon 1 growth strategy.
The Perth-based iron ore miner brought the Mt Dove mine, its third Pilbara iron ore mine to come into production, in December, which the company says will help it to reach production of 7.7 million tonnes of iron ore in 2012/13.
Production from Mt Dove was expected to increase Atlas’ north Pilbara production rate to eight million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in the March 2013 quarter.
“With the commencement of production and haulage at Mt Dove, Atlas remains on track to export between 7.2 million tonnes and 7.7 million tonnes in the 2013 financial year,” the company said.
Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said the milestone represented a key stepping-stone towards achieving its near-term production target of 12 mtpa.
“The company is on target to bring five mines into production in five years with the addition of the Abydos mine in June and the first phase of the Mt Webber mine, subject to board approval, in December 2013,” Mr Brinsden said.
Atlas said Mt Dove had been brought into production on time and within budget.
On top of the Mt Dove announcement, Atlas also announced updates on its other key development projects – further material progress at the Abydos mine, 130km south of Port Hedland, and the Utah Point Yard 2 projects.
The Abydos, Mt Dove and Mt Webber projects underpin the company’s Horizon 1 targeted production rate of 12mtpa by December 2013.
Atlas has commenced pre-strip mining and site access earthworks at the Abydos mine, with first production and haulage to port scheduled for June 2013.
Work was also underway on the further development of Atlas’ Utah Point port facilities in Port Hedland at Utah Point Yard 2, to further expand the company’s export capacity over the remainder of the financial year. This would enable the facilities to accommodate the additional tonnages from both the Mt Dove and Abydos mines as they come on line.
“It’s great to be starting the New Year on a very positive note with the achievement of these important mining, production and infrastructure development milestones as part of our Horizon 1 growth strategy,” Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said.
“We are also pleased to see the return of positive sentiment to the iron ore sector with a strong rebound in iron ore prices and plenty of activity from Atlas’ customer base.
“Atlas’ low-cost production growth strategy and expanding production base puts us in a great position to benefit from these improved conditions, just as it enabled us to weather the volatile trading conditions experienced last year.”
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