This week, Fortescue Metals Group is celebrating 10 years of iron ore exports resulting in more than 1 billion metric tons (mt) of contribution to Australia’s economic growth. A decade ago, Fortescue shipped its first 180,000 mt of iron ore aboard the cape size vessel Heng Shan from Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland. Since then, the company has become one of the lowest-cost and most-efficient suppliers of seaborne iron ore into China.

Speaking at the celebration event at Cloudbreak, Western Australia, Fortescue’s original mine site, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Fortescue has changed the face of the Pilbara and the Australian mining industry. “Fortescue has contributed to the economic strength of our nation, providing employment and training opportunities for thousands of people including Indigenous workers, significant contracts that benefit local communities as well as playing a key role in the Australia-China relationship,” Bishop said.

Fortescue Founder and Chairman Andrew Forrest said, “From the first discovery hole drilled at Cloudbreak to now sustaining consistent production at 170 million mt/y, Fortescue is truly an Australian success story. Ten years ago, I said Australia now had a new flagship company and today Fortescue continues to proudly wave that flag.”

Forrest also acknowledged Fortescue’s long-term relationship with its Chinese customers, which has played a critical role in the company’s growth. “We are proud of our contribution to China’s remarkable economic development and our role in supporting the important trade relationship between China and Australia which has been vital to driving economic growth in both nations,” he said.

“There is an exciting future ahead. We look forward to continuing to invest in the long-term sustainability of our core iron ore business in the Pilbara and ensuring that local communities continue to benefit from our growth and development.”