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World’s No. 4 iron ore miner wants to diversify its portfolio

Fortescue CEO, Elizabeth Gaines. Photo by Fortescue, Twitter.

The CEO of Australian iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) said that the company is working towards finding other commodities to mine.

In an interview with local conglomerate Fairfax Media, Elizabeth Gaines said that she has high hopes for the exploration work for copper, gold and lithium that the company is advancing in Ecuador and Argentina.

Gaines said that finding the right project to dig for the red metal is key because a growth in demand is expected, driven by the electric vehicle industry.

The firm founded by billionaire Andrew Forrest currently produces about 170 million tonnes of iron ore per year from its operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. To be able to keep such output, Fortescue has started building the $1.3-billion Eliwana mine in the same area. The project should start production by December 2020 and it is set to yield higher quality ore, closer to the benchmark of 62% iron content.

The superior product is expected to satisfy new demands from Fortescue’s biggest customer, China, a country that is increasingly asking for higher quality ore for steel mills to help cut smog.