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Fortescue Metals postpones iron ore mine construction until 2013


LR-Fairplay reports that Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) has announced that it will postpone a key phase of a major iron ore mine, port and rail development until 2013.

After failing to complete a US$5.4 billion debt deal with Chinese financiers last year, Fortescue said it would fund the expansion of its operation in Western Australia's Pilbara region from internal sources. But after reporting a 94 per cent fall in first-half profit late last week, Fortescue has set April 2013 as the date for lifting annual output to 92 million tonnes, compared to an earlier target of 95M tonnes per year by February 2012.

LR-Fairplay said the company has indicated it is prepared to accelerate the development timetable once more if acceptable debt funding becomes available or joint venture partners eventuate.

Last week's profit fall came on the back of lower ore prices, foreign exchange losses and the revaluation of a key loan from US financier Leucadia National.

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