Atlas Iron hits record shipments with ore once destined for the waste heap

Aussie iron ore miner (ASX:AGO) has boosted shipments to record levels via the sale of low grade iron ore which would have once been tossed on the rubbish heap.

The Australian
reports that a gap in the market for lower grade ore has emerged due to the the suspension of production in India, which has traditionally been the primary provide of weaker quality product.

According to a market update released last week Atlas Iron sold four cargoes of "value fines" – or smaller particles of iron ore – in the final quarter of 2012, which totaled 373,000 tonnes and lifted iron ore shipments for the period to a record 1.75 million tonnes.

Atlas says the lower grade ore has become a growing market for the iron ore miner, converting what was once disposable waste into revenue.

"Historically we would have been mining this material anyway to generate our standard-grade product, but it would have just been put on the waste dump," said managing director Ken Brinsden.