12/11/2008 - 14:54

FMG's chief operating officer resigns

12/11/2008 - 14:54

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Fortescue Metals Group chief operating officer, Alan Watling has tendered his resignation with the Perth-based iron ore producer.

Fortescue Metals Group chief operating officer, Alan Watling has tendered his resignation with the Perth-based iron ore producer.

A note went round to staff yesterday advising employees of Mr Watling's resignation.

The note thanked Mr Watling for his dedication to his work and committment to the company.

It's believed that he left the role in order to spend more time with his family.

FMG, Australia's third largest iron ore producer, is at a critical point in its development having revealed its production by the end of the year was likely to be about 10 per cent below the 22 million tonne target, due to the planned shut down of its port and mine processing plant being brought forward.

Considering the recent market turmoil, and unknowns surrounding future econmoic conditions, this downturn adds to speculation that the company's full expansion to 55 million tonnes per annum may be in jeopardy.

Fortescue said it remains on track to achieve an annualised production rate of 45 million tonnes by the end of 2008 and still plans to step up to the 55 million tonnes mark by the end of the first quarter of 2009, subject to market conditions.

Just four weeks ago, it was reported that the Pilbara miner had sales at the end of September of $624 million - an increase of $432 million on the previous quarter.

Fortescue shipped its first ore to Chinese steel mills in May and had loaded 8.536 million tonnes onto 52 ships by the end of September.

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