FORTESCUE Metals Group shipped 42.3m tonnes of iron ore from the Pilbara during the 2020 third quarter, seemingly overcoming challenges posed by COVID-19.

In figures released to the Australian Stock Exchange, it was revealed that:

• Record third quarter iron ore shipments of 42.3m tonnes were 10% higher than the third quarter of the 2019 financial year and year-to-date shipments were a record 130.9m tonnes.

• “Robust demand” for Fortescue products delivered average revenue of US$73/dry metric tonne

• Based on the “strong operating performance” year-to-date, guidance for financial year 2020 shipments were upgraded to 175 – 177m tonnes.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines talked of the challenges posed by “the unprecedented global COVID-19 health pandemic and economic crisis” but also of recent successes.

“Fortescue’s strong operating performance in the March quarter has delivered record shipments, increasing 10% compared to the prior comparable quarter, and a 2% reduction in C1 costs maintaining our industry leading cost position,” Ms Gaines said.

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“This result underpins an upgrade to our full year guidance for shipments.”

Ms Gaines said Fortescue was “a core supplier” of iron ore to China and predicted strong demand from that market as its economy recovered from the pandemic.

“While the global economic outlook remains uncertain, our balance sheet has never been stronger and we continue to generate sustained cashflows and jobs, invest in growth and focus on delivering returns to our shareholders,” she said.

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