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Fortescue's fiscal Q1'20 iron ore shipments rise 5% YOY

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. said Oct. 24 that iron ore shipments in the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 totaled 42.2 million tonnes, representing a 5% rise from the year-ago quarter, while C1 costs inched down 2% to US$12.95 per wet tonne.

On a quarterly basis, shipments fell 9% from 46.6 Mt in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2019, with C1 costs up 1% to US$12.78 per wet tonne, resulting from seasonal maintenance activity.

The Australian iron ore producer kept its full-year 2020 guidance from 170 Mt to 175 Mt, with C1 costs ranging from US$13.25 per wet tonne to US$13.75 per wet tonne.

Mined ore for the period ended Sept. 30 slipped 3% yearly to 50.6 Mt, with ore processed up 5% to 45.1 Mt.

By the quarter's end, the autonomous truck fleet at Fortescue's Chichester Hub grew to 142 following the conversion of an additional 73 trucks. The full conversion into autonomous hauling operations is on track for completion in mid-2020.

The miner, earlier this month, signed an agreement with Alinta Energy (Australia) Pty. Ltd. to supply the Chichester Hub operation with renewable energy.

Capital expenditure for the period came in at US$421 million, with full-year capex projected at US$2.4 billion.

Exploration expenditure for the quarter — focused on the Western Hub and the Eastern Hamersley regions in Western Australia's Pilbara — totaled US$33 million, part of its US$140 million forecast spend this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, early stage copper exploration in Argentina has started, with preparation work being conducted ahead of drilling season in the South American country.