BC Iron and Nullagine JV hit 5Mtpa production rate

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: BC Iron has announced that the Nullagine Iron Ore Joint Venture (NJV) has achieved its sustained target production rate of 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of iron ore produced and exported.

The NJV, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is a 50:50 unincorporated joint venture project between BC Iron and Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group.

Hitting the 5Mtpa mark is the third of four operating milestones the company told the market it hoped to achieve earlier this year.

The milestones now in the ticked off category are:

–    3Mtpa production rate by 31 December 2011, which was accomplished in November 2011;

–    1 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore exported by 31 December 2011, which the company surpassed by 10 per cent; and

–    5Mtpa production rate by 30 June 2012, just done.

BC Iron said it remains on track to achieve its fourth proclaimed milestone of total NJV exports of 3.5Mt by 30 June 2012.

The company identified the key elements to the successful ramp-up to full production were the arrival and commissioning of the eighth PowerTrans pit hauler (360t payload) and the successful completion of the first stage upgrade to the crushing and screening plant during April.

NJV has a second stage upgrade planned for the crushing and screening plant during July which will increase its capacity to approximately 5.8Mtpa creating further upside or ‘sprint’ capacity for the operation.

“I am hugely proud to report that we have hit our 5Mtpa production target before 30 June 2012,” BC Iron managing director Mike Young said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This achievement more than confirms our strong relationship with Fortescue.

“It is a fantastic accomplishment for the NJV as the 5Mtpa rate has been one of our key production targets over the past couple of years.

“We set our company four shipping and production benchmarks to reach before the end of FY2012.

“We have realised three of these targets and are firmly on track to meet guidance of 3.5Mt shipped for FY2012.”