Ore Travails Claim Another Victim

The iron ore casualty list is mounting as the price slide continues batter small exporters.

Mount Gibson Iron now looks set to join Venture Minerals and GWR in being forced to shut iron ore mines because of the slide in prices in the past three months.

Mount Gibson told the ASX on Wednesday to halt trading in its shares until Friday “following recent iron ore price volatility” so that it can make a decision about the immediate future of its Shine iron ore project in Western Australia’s Mid-West.

A week ago GWR suspended production at its Mid West C4 mine for 30 days while it monitored price movements. That saw the shares tumble 21%.

GWR said that it had “shipped approximately 660,000 tonnes of ore since February 2021” upon completion of its September consignment.

Mount Gibson has been trucking ore 300 kilometres from Shine to Geraldton Port and planned to recommission a rail siding to cover the last 100 kilometres.

In August, Mount Gibson said a ramp-up of production faced a tight market for trucks and drivers and it expected cost pressures until rail was used, especially when production approached the target of 1.5 million tonnes a year.

Mount Gibson also ships a higher grade 61% Fe product from the old mine Koolan Island off the Kimberley coast. It sold 1.8 million tonnes last financial year.

Mount Gibson did not refer to the Kolan Island mine in its letter to the ASX on Wednesday.

Earlier this month Venture Minerals announced it was suspending its Riley iron ore mine in northern Tasmania on the same day as it shipped its first load of ore

Venture sent its first load of 45,632 tonnes of iron ore off to Chinese buyer and then pulled the plug on operations.

Iron ore prices slid 7% on Tuesday (to $US$US112.06 a tonne) to take the fall this year to more than 55% from the peak for 62% Fe fines (the global benchmark) of $US237 a tonne in mid-May.


About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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