Don’t call it a comeback. Australian mining company Atlas Iron has decided to resurrect mining production at its Pilbara mines in Western Australia, after previously suspending operations due to declining iron ore prices. The company will now continue to export through May.
According to Atlas Iron, the reversed decision was attributed to a “substantial” reduction in operating costs and the production and sale of the company’s first ever lump cargo. The company said roughly 65 percent of production at its Abydos mine in the Pilbara would be lump ore---priced at a premium to its Standard Fines product.
Atlas expects to produce approximately 200,000 wet mt/month of lump from Abydos. With the new operating model, which includes lump product, streams and assistance provided, Atlas expects to produce positive cash flow in May.
Atlas plans to convert the initiatives into possible longer-term operating solutions.
Exports from Abydos have been largely uninterrupted in April as it was able to draw down stockpiles and it’s expected to restart production from its Wodgina mine “as soon as possible” in May.
The company struck arrangements with “key contractors” last week to continue operations at Abydos and Wodgina during the month of May. According to Financial Review, contractors for Atlas Iron have also pushed for the company to reopen its third and most expensive mine, Mount Webber.
In April, Atlas Iron announced it would progressively suspend production at is Pilbara mines sites over the next few weeks after it was unable to keep up with plunging iron ore prices.