Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has shipped its 15 millionth tonne of iron ore through the Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland, Western Australia, marking another milestone for the company. “The mine, rail and port operations teams worked hard throughout 2008 to achieve the 15 Mt milestone as the company continues to ramp-up its operations,” Fortescue Executive Director Operations Graeme Rowley said. “In December we shipped 2.6 Mt which is the highest monthly rate achieved to date. The fourth quarter result was 6.3 Mt shipped. In addition, the tonnes mined at Cloudbreak during 2008 totalled 19.5 Mt, just 1% shy of our target.“Credit must go to all of our staff for their achievements. Establishing and operating a large greenfields operation is very challenging and Fortescue’s positive culture has been instrumental in overcoming the hurdles that invariably occur in getting a project of this size up and running.”The Capesize vessel MV Mystic departed Port Hedland on January 5, 2009 with the 15 millionth tonne on board. Fortescue exported more than 14.8 Mt of high quality iron ore in 2008, after loading its first ore on ship on May 15, 2008. Fortescue also shipped 60,000 t for Atlas Iron in December, which marked the historic first shipment of iron ore by a third party from a Pilbara port.“We are continuing to finetune our operations and will increase mine, rail and port tonnage through 2009. Commissioning of the company’s desand plant at the Cloudbreak mine site is proceeding as planned, which will ensure Fortescue’s ore specification in quality and quantity is maintained,” Rowley said.