The company shipped 1.97 million tonnes (dry metric tonnes) in the three months to March 21, up 151,000t or 8% from the previous quarter.
Year-to-date sales have jumped 23% year-on-year to 5.39Mt, with the sales run rate expected to increase to 11Mt per annum by July/August thanks to the expansion at Whyalla, which will eventually see the company’s port capacity increase by roughly 7Mtpa to 13Mtpa.
While shipments from the company’s Southern Iron activities increased nearly three-fold from the December quarter to 501,000t, the Middleback Ranges operations had a 13% drop in shipments to 1.5Mt after volumes were impacted by operational issues related to the narrow gauge rail and weather conditions in January.
Arrium said it continued to broaden its customer base as it ramped up production and introduced new products to the market.
“The business is receiving good support from new and existing customers for its recently introduced Whyalla Lump and Fines blend, as well as its Opal Fines, which is a blend of fines from the Middleback and Southern Iron operations,” the company said.
Average cost loaded on ship for the March quarter, excluding royalties and depreciation, was $A42 per wet metric tonne, a $1/tonne decrease from the prior quarter due to increased mining.
The company said fiscal year sales should come in between 8.2Mt and 8.4Mt, consistent with previous guidance thanks to the expected sales lift in the final quarter due to further supply chain ramp up from Southern Iron.
Arrium shares fell 2.8% to 87.5c in early trading.