Aussie iron miners struggle to keep pace with Vale – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 16, 2018)

Australian iron ore miners have struggled to keep pace with Brazilian miner Vale, with BHP and Fortescue expected to follow in Rio Tinto’s footsteps by reporting softer exports of the steelmaking ingredient in recent months.

Rio confirmed on Tuesday that maintenance disruptions and the death of an employee had contributed to weaker than expected iron ore exports in the three months to September 30, and data from Port Hedland suggests its tenants (BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, Mineral Resources and Atlas Iron) exported six per cent less iron ore in the period compared to the previous quarter.

BHP is scheduled to confirm its iron ore exports on Wednesday morning, with RBC predicting its Australian division shipped 72 million tonnes in the three months to September 30.

RBC had expected Rio to ship 85.7 million tonnes of iron ore from Western Australia in the quarter, but the miner could only export 81.9 million tonnes.

The result was well below the 88.5 million tonnes Rio shipped in the three months to June 30, but the company remains on track to achieve its export guidance of between 330 million and 340 million tonnes thanks to a stronger than expected first half.

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