Fortescue Metals Group achieved a record 100 million metric ton per year (mt/y) run rate in December 2012 through its Herb Elliot Port Facility. The port facility loaded 8.5 million mt onto 45 ships during December to achieve a run rate, 23% higher than its previous monthly record set in May 2012. The increased throughput was a result of a number of milestones that occurred in December, including the ramp up of the second ore processing facility at the Christmas Creek mine, first ore from the Solomon mine and the opening of the Fortescue Hamersley Rail Line.

Fortescue CEO Nev Power said Fortescue’s latest record was an outstanding end to 2012, exceeding the previously announced target of a production rate of 95 million mt/y by the end of 2012. “While the year has been a difficult one with volatility in the iron ore market, we finished the year on a huge high,” Power said. “This achievement demonstrates the continuing ability of Fortescue’s people and infrastructure to achieve great results.”

New records are expected to continue to be set throughout 2013. The 20 million mt/y Firetail deposit at Solomon is already ramping up and Fortescue is on track to reach its near term target rate of 115 million mt/y in this quarter. The development of the Kings deposit at Solomon is resuming this month to deliver an additional 40 million mt/y of low-cost production by December 2013 and take the annual production rate to 155 million mt/y.