FORTESCUE Metals Group has commissioned a second ore processing facility at its Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Fortescue said the processing facility will enable the mine to lift its production to 115 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
The completion of the processing facility comes a week after Fortescue began operating its second train unloader in Port Hedland.
Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power said his company has constructed two ore processing facilities and the infrastructure that goes with it since March 2010.
“This is another example of Fortescue’s progress towards 115 mtpa by the end of the March quarter 2013,” he said.
Fortescue said other infrastructure projects underway at Christmas Creek include doubling capacity of the operations village, the construction of a remote crushing hub and a 6.3km overland conveyor.
There will also be a new airstrip and the power plant is being expanded.
Earlier on Monday, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said it had affirmed its BB-minus corporate credit rating on Fortescue Metals with a negative rating outlook.
The ratings agency also lowered the issue rating on Fortescue’s unsecured debt to B-plus.
S&P has now removed Fortescue’s credit ratings from CreditWatch with negative implications, where they were placed on September 12, 2012.
“Fortescue has removed the financial covenants that had been expected to come under pressure, particularly if iron ore prices had remained low,” the ratings agency said.
“The downgrade on the senior unsecured debt reflects the prior ranking of the senior secured debt in our recovery analysis.” – AAP