File picture: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - Kumba Iron Ore said on Tuesday its headline earnings per share rose 12 percent to R30.47 in the year to December, from R27.30 in 2016.

The company declared a final cash dividend of R15 per share, with total dividend of R30.97 per share.

Kumba said total production increased by eight percent to 45 million tonnes, due to significant productivity improvements at its main Sishen mine, which achieved 31.1 million tonnes, while Kolomela delivered 13.9 million tonnes.

Total sales rose six percent to 44.9 million tonnes and total export volumes were up seven percent to 41.6 million tonnes compared with 2016.

"I am pleased to report that Kumba has delivered on our key objectives for 2017," chief executive Themba Mkhwanazi said.

"Most importantly, our safety initiatives resulted in a fatality-free year with material improvement across our key indicators."

Kumba said production guidance for 2018 was between 44 and 45 metric tonnes. Sishen was expected to produce between 30 to 31 million tonnes of iron ore, while Kolomela output was seen at around 14 million tonnes.

The company said its performance remained sensitive to the volatility in iron ore export prices and the rand/dollar exchange rate.

"Our priority now is on driving operations to unlock their full potential, rationalising external expenditure, reinforcing the integration of sales and operational planning and building a more effective organisation," Mkhwanazi  said.

"In the medium and longer term we will focus on development of new technologies to process lower grade material and life extension projects. "

- African News Agency (ANA)