Atlas Iron posts record shipments in Q3

Miner says it is still on track to meet full-year production guidance after record Q3 shipments.

Atlas Iron (AGO) has reaffirmed its full-year production guidance after achieving record shipments in the third quarter despite the impacts of extreme weather.

The miner shipped 2.73 million wet metric tonnes (wmt) in the March quarter, exceeding the record quarterly shipment of 2.70 million wmt achieved in the December quarter.

On the back of the upbeat result, Atlas said it is confident of meetings its full-year production guidance of between 10.2 million wmt and 10.7 million wmt, and expects its final result will be in the upper range of guidance.

Atlas said it had shipped more ore in the year to date than it had in the entire previous year.

Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden said a senior Atlas representatives had visited China recently and reiterated the group's upbeat assessment of the Asian nation.

"We have developed strong and reliable relationships with our customers, and through our dialogue with them, we remain confident about China’s ongoing demand for seaborne traded iron ore, for the long term," he said.

The comments come after a turbulent few months for the iron ore price. In March the price of iron ore charted its largest one-day price fall in more than four years on persistent fears over China's economy, dropping to as low as $US104.70 a tonne.

It has since rebounded to push the $US120 a tonne mark, but trade has remained volatile.

Some analysts have cut growth forecasts for China, and predicted iron ore prices will sink to around $US80 to $US90 per tonne over the next few years.

Projects progressing well: Brinsden

Mr Brinsden said the group had $372 million cash on hand at March 31, following an investment of $102m in growth projects, with a large portion of those funds contributing to progress at the Mt Webber and Abydos projects.

"The Mt Webber Project is progressing well, with Stage 1 set to commence haulage during the June 2014 quarter, and Stage 2 on track to further increase overall North Pilbara production despite the scaling down of Mt Dove and Pardoo contributions."

Mr Brinsden said Atlas will continue to reduce its capital expenditure during the rest of the financial year, as it finalises the completion of its Horizon I projects.

"This will enable us to retain more of the cash flows from our growing production profile," he said.

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