Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs

IRON ore producer Fenix Resources might have shipped record ore from its Iron Ridge project near Cue in Western Australia over the past quarter, however, freight costs and lower commodity prices have hit profits.
Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs Fenix pins hopes on reduced costs

Paul Hunt

Deputy Editor: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

Over the three months ended December 31, Fenix sent six shipments totalling 356,710 wet metric tonnes of iron ore, consisting of 188,391 lump and 168,319 fines.

To date it has shipped 1.2 million tonnes from Iron Ridge.

Fenix managing director Rob Brierley said the company had generated an outstanding production performance that "unfortunately was accompanied by lower iron ore prices and higher ocean freight costs".

Just nine months ago iron ore prices surged to a record of US$230/t, before collapsing over the past quarter.

At the time of writing 62% fines were worth US$130, indicating somewhat of a recovery, however, analysts warn that may not continue indefinitely.

"The current quarter has started positively with higher iron ore prices and lower freight rates, and the high likelihood that pricing adjustments will result in cash inflows," Brierley said.

Freight costs have soared amid the COVID-19 pandemic and over recent months have tightened dramatically, with some miners forced to charter their own vessels to mitigate costs.

Fenix received an average price of US$55.96 per tonne taking cash and receivables to A$60.8 million.

Going forward, the company has 50,000t of its production hedged at a fixed price of $230.30/t and remains optimistic.

"We have stayed the course with our mine plan and continued to accelerate waste stripping to ensure we have orderly access to high grade ore sources, with the benefits of this strategy to be yielded in the June 2022 quarter, and beyond," Brierley said.

Fenix is focused on waste stripping at the mine and its stage two cutback.

The company had cash of $55 million, with $24.1 million in dividend payments made over the quarter.