Fortescue's iron ore production costs have hit a record low

A file photo of mining billionaire Andrew Twiggy Forrest. William West/AFP/GettyImages

The relentless drive on costs continues at billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals where the overhead to produce a metric tonne of iron ore has hit a record low.

December quarterly production results for the pure play iron ore miner show shipments down 4% to 40.5 million tonnes and cash production costs at $US12.08 a wet metric tonne, down 4% on the same three months last year.

“Our productivity and efficiency initiatives have continued to reduce the cost base offsetting higher strip ratios, exchange rates and fuel prices,” says CEO Nev Power.

“Our focus on improving safety continues, together with our clear market and product strategy to deliver value to our customers, generating strong cash margins and shareholder returns.”

Cash on hand at the end of December was $US0.9 billion.

Power was releasing his last quarterly results before handing over to Elizabeth Gaines who takes over as CEO next month.

The production numbers in detail for the December quarter:

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