Fortescue Metals Group’s has celebrated the export of its one billionth tonne of iron ore last month, just a decade after its first commercial long haul to Shanghai out of Port Hedland.
Meanwhile, Australia’s iron ore exports, which accounted for nearly 17 per cent of total exports of goods and services last year, had increased earnings of 32 per cent to $63 billion in 2016–17, driven in large part by higher prices.
However, that value is forecast to decline to $54 billion in 2018–19, as the impact of forecast lower prices offsets volume gains.
Fortescue’s founder and Chairman Andrew Forrest said the company had now achieved what many people thought was impossible: building a company from scratch to become a global leader in mining.
“A decade ago, when we shipped our first 180,000 tonnes of ore to China, I said it was a phenomenal achievement of sheer hard work, of guts and grind over scepticism, of character over doubt. The same can be said today as we reach one billion tonnes of ore shipped,” Forrest said.
Newly appointed CEO Elizabeth Gaines said Fortescue remained proud of its ongoing and significant contribution to WA and was committed to ensuring that local communities benefited from the company’s growth and development.
“Since Fortescue was founded, we have invested over US$22 billion in our world-class infrastructure and assets. We have paid corporate tax of more than A$3 billion and royalties to the State of more than A$4.5 billion,” she said.
She added that the company had awarded $2 billion in contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures, with close to 800 Aboriginal people starting work with Fortescue through a training program.