Iron ore specialist Fortescue Metals shipped less product at a higher cost in the three months to March, following a rise in cyclone activity across its West Australian operations.
The Pilbara miner shipped 38.7 million tonnes of iron ore in the three months to March 31, down two per cent from the 39.6 million tonnes recorded a year earlier, and four per cent lower on the second-quarter.
The group’s cash costs, at $US13.14 ($A18.40) per wet metric tonne, are up nine per cent on the prior quarter and have lifted by one per cent from a year earlier.
The company said this reflects increasing maintenance and production costs, a higher Australian dollar and higher fuel prices.
“Mining, processing, rail and shipping performance was broadly in line with expectations and lower than the previous quarter due to cyclone activity impacting port operations together with planned extended maintenance, equipment downtime and wet weather at the mines,” Fortescue said in a statement on Tuesday.
The iron ore specialist indicated shipments for the full year remain on target at around 170 metric tonnes.
Chief executive Elizabeth Gaines, who took the lead at the Fortescue in February this year, said the miner continues to generate strong margins from the “lowest end of the global cost curve.”
In March, the miner cut the amount it expects to receive for its iron ore over the 2018 financial year on the back of slowing Chinese construction and the emerging cloud of a US-China focused trade war.
During the third quarter, China accounted for 89 per cent of Fortescue’s total iron ore shipments.
By 1109 AEST, Fortescue shares were down 19.5 cents, or 4.2 per cent, to $4.485.