Atlas Iron Opens Mt. Webber Mine in Pilbara
Atlas Iron has officially opened the Mt. Webber mine in Pilbara of Western Australia. The iron ore mine is the company’s fifth in the region.
Production at the Mt. Webber mine is already producing iron ore at a rate of three million tons per year and the company expects to reach six million tons following the commissioning of the second phase expansion at the end of the year.
According to Atlas’ managing director Ken Brinsden, the company has been able to take advantage of Pilbara’s cheap labor market.
"As a result we've got some cost-effective contracts in place but also it's a very low-cost mine due to the low strip ratio. It's quite unusual in that regard because we don't have to move a lot of waste in order to access the ore."
He added, "These lower capital and operating costs continue to improve our already strong position on the global cost curve, and against our peers in Australia.”
The Mt. Webber mine is expected to make a long-term impact on Pilbara.
"The low $212 million capital cost of the project includes a substantial contribution towards road upgrades in the region, which benefits all Pilbara road users,” said Brinsden.
The mine, which is a joint venture project with Altura Mining, is located approximately 140 miles south-east of Port Hedland and the company’s lowest-cost operation to date.
"We are also proud that an infrastructure sharing arrangement with Altura Mining has helped foster another independent producer and unlock what would otherwise be a stranded resource for the benefit of both parties, the community, and the State of Western Australia," said Brinsden.
From 2013 to 2014, Atlas Iron’s ore shipment from Pilbara operations has increased 47 percent to 10.9 million tons.
Lynas revenue jumps 21% as rare earth prices jump
Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths posted a 20.6% rise in revenue in the March quarter as selling prices for the key metals it mines hit record highs amid strong demand, particularly for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
NdPr is used in magnets for electric vehicles and windfarms, in consumer goods like smartphones, and in military equipment such as jet engines and missile guidance systems.
The company said it plans to maintain production at 75% however, as it seeks to continue to meet covid-19 safety protocols and grapples with shipping difficulties. Shares in Lynas fell 6.1% after the results.
“They have faced a few logistics issues, and it would be good to know when they are going to start lifting their utilisation rates a bit,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Sydney.
“Pricing has been pretty strong although it may have peeled back a bit recently. I still think the medium, long-term outlook is pretty good for their suite of products.”
Lynas post ed revenue of A$110mn ($85.37mn) for the three months to the end of March, up from A$91.2mn a year earlier as prices soared.
It said its full product range garnered average selling prices of A$35.5/kg during the March quarter, up from $23.7 in the first half of the financial year. “While the persistence of the covid crisis, especially in Europe, calls for careful forecasts for our business ahead, we see the rare earth market recovering very quickly,” said Lynas, the world’s largest rare earths producer outside China.
Freight demand has spiked during the pandemic, while the blockage of the Suez Canal in March delayed a shipment to April.
Lynas’ output of 4,463 tonnes of rare earth oxide (REO) during the quarter was marginally lower than 4,465 tonnes from a year earlier.