Iron ore prices have fluctuated greatly recently, many of them from foreign supply side news. Three major mines released third-quarter production reports a month ago, including Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. These giants supply most of the world's iron ore resources and have an absolute say in the market.
On 14 October, Vale released its third quarter 2019 production report. Vale iron ore powder production and sales increased significantly, thanks in part to the continued resumption of production in the southern and southeastern systems, and to the strong operational performance of the northern systems and the return of shipments to normal.
In the third quarter of 2019, iron ore powder production reached 86.7 million tons, an increase of 35.4 per cent over the previous quarter. The resumption of production in the Brookutu (Brucutu) mining area announced in June and the partial resumption of dry mineral processing operations in the Dawalren (Vargem Grande) comprehensive mining area announced in July have contributed to this quarter's output.
On October 16th Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto) released its third-quarter financial report. Iron ore shipments from the Pilbara reached 86.1 million tons (100 per cent equity base) in the third quarter, an increase of 5 per cent over the same period in 2018. After operational challenges and weather impacts earlier this year, the Pilbara mine recovered strongly, with iron ore production reaching 87.3 million tonnes (100 per cent equity base), up 6 per cent from the same period in 2018 and 10 per cent month-on-month.
On October 17th BHP Billiton (BHP), Australia's second-largest iron ore producer, released its production and sales report for the third quarter of 2019. BHP Billiton's total iron ore production in Western Australia this quarter was 69.26 million tons, down 1.87 million tons (3%) from the previous quarter, and basically unchanged from the same period last year. The decrease in production compared with the second quarter of this year was mainly due to a large-scale planned overhaul at Port Hedland this quarter, including the overhaul of unloading vehicles at the port. The overhaul of the unloading vehicle was completed on October 16, while other repairs at the port continued. From January to September 2019, total iron ore production was 204 million tons, roughly the same as the same period last year.
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