The first shipment of iron ore from the $10 billion Pilbara project departed Port Hedland on December 10, 2015. After a slow start, the project's ramp-up appears to be on track to reach a 55 million-tonne-a-year output target after a significant increase in shipments over the past few months.
It is understood Roy Hill loads about 170,000 tonne capacity ships, which means that it was running at an annualised run rate of about 24.5 million tonnes in the month of June – almost half its target.
Roy Hill is 70 per cent owned by Mrs Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting, with the remaining 30 per cent held by Posco, Marubeni Corporation and China Steel Corporation.
Macquarie analysts said in May the ramp-up had been "faster than we were expecting", but despite this, the project was unlikely to meet its end-of-year target.
"We still expect a 40 million tonne per annum average shipment rate to be achieved in the December quarter," Macquarie said.
Roy Hill's shipping figures were reinforced by strong June shipping data from Port Hedland Port released on Monday that showed a record volume of iron ore shipped through the port.
After a slow start to 2016, 41.8 million tonnes were shipped through the port in the 30 days of June.
The previous record was set in March, when 39.53 million tonnes were shipped.
A total of 454.2 million tonnes were shipped through Port Hedland in the 2016 financial year. That was also a record, and was 3 per cent more than was shipped in the previous financial year.
UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock estimated in a note on Friday that BHP had shipped 257 million tonnes for the year to June 30.
He estimated that Fortescue had exported 170 million tonnes, which would be better than the 165 million tonnes forecast by the company.
Iron ore was fetching $US55.17 per tonne on Monday morning.
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