On 23 April 2024, Kumba Iron Ore Limited announced a fatality-free production of more than seven years at Sishen and one-year at Kolomela, with an improved TRIFR of 0.48 in first quarter ended 31 March 2024; while operationally, the company reported a consistent and solid mining and production performance.

Kumba’s chief executive, Mpumi Zikalala, said: “Safety is our highest priority and our total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) of 0.48 relative to the first quarter 2023 rate of 1.27 demonstrates the progress we are making. This was underpinned by an ongoing focus on eliminating high energy, high-risk incidents through critical controls along with the management of practices and processes that enable a safe working environment.

“From a sustainability perspective, it is pleasing to report that both Sishen and Kolomela mines have achieved a 75% level of performance for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) comprehensive mining standard. Kumba is the first iron-ore producer in Africa to complete the IRMA audit, providing all stakeholders with a way of accounting for sustainability practices that are transparent, verifiable and comparable.

“Operationally, Kumba delivered a consistent and solid mining and production performance. In line with our business reconfiguration plan of aligning production volumes to Transnet’s logistics performance levels, total production decreased with a planned reduction at Kolomela, while Sishen delivered an increase in production.

“Export sales volumes were significantly impacted by challenging operating conditions at the Saldanha Bay Port, with equipment maintenance now being undertaken by Transnet to primarily address the stacker-reclaimer reliability issues. Our production and sales guidance for the full year is unchanged at 35-37Mt and 36-38Mt, respectively.

“The iron ore market pulled back strongly in the first quarter and the reconfiguration of our business to a lower production and cost profile should ensure that we are more resilient in the face of a volatile market environment. Steel demand remained lacklustre after the Chinese New Year. This was compounded by modest Chinese government stimulus announced at the ‘Two Sessions’ congress in February 2024 and several steel production cuts across various provinces in China. Against this backdrop, Kumba achieved an average realised FOB export price of USD89 per wet metric tonne (wmt), reflecting the negative timing effect of provisionally priced volumes in a decreasing price environment. This was partly offset by the lump and iron ore quality premium that our products attract.”

Q1 2024 overview:

  • Fatality-free production of more than seven years at Sishen and one-year at Kolomela, with an improved TRIFR of 0.48.
  • Total production decreased by 2% to 9.3Mt (Q1 2023: 9.4Mt), in line with Kumba’s business reconfiguration to a lower production profile.
  • Total sales decreased by 10% to 8.5Mt (Q1 2023: 9.5Mt) due to port performance challenges, with 0.4Mt of shipments rolling over into the second quarter.
  • Finished stock of 8.5Mt (31 December 2023: 7.1Mt) includes stockpiles of 6.9Mt at the mines, 1.2Mt at the Saldanha Bay Port and 0.4Mt of shipments.
  • Average realised free on board (FOB) export iron ore price of USD89/wmt equivalent to USD91 per dry metric tonne (dmt), compared to the average benchmark price of USD103/wmt (equivalent to USD105/dmt).

Source: Kumba Iron Ore Limited