Atlas on track to produce 7.7MT in FY2013

Atlas Iron says it is on track to produce up to 7.7 million tonnes of iron ore in 2012/13 after bringing its third Pilbara iron ore mine into production.

The Perth-based iron ore miner said production had started at its Mt Dove mine, 65 kilometres south of Port Hedland in Western Australia.

Production from Mt Dove was expected to increase Atlas' north Pilbara production rate to eight million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) in the March 2013 quarter.

"With the commencement of production and haulage at Mt Dove, Atlas remains on track to export between 7.2 million tonnes and 7.7 million tonnes in the 2013 financial year," the company said in a statement.

Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said the milestone represented a key stepping-stone towards achieving its near-term production target of 12 million tonnes per annum.

"The company is on target to bring five mines into production in five years with the addition of the Abydos Mine in June and the first phase of the Mt Webber Mine, subject to board approval, in December 2013," Mr Brinsden said in a statement.

Atlas said Mt Dove had been brought into production on time and within budget.

Mt Dove was the third mine that Atlas has brought into production within the past four years.

At 1535 AEDT, Atlas was down five cents, or 2.67 per cent, at $1.82.

The company's share price had increased more than 30 per cent in the past month, and closed at its highest level since July 2012 on Wednesday at $1.895.

In December, Atlas completed a $US275 million ($A263.50 million) financing package, which the funds used to complete the development of the Mt Dove, Abydos and Mt Webber mines and the Yard Two expansion works at Utah Point at Port Hedland.

The first ore was mined at Mt Dove in November 2012.

High grade production had commenced and haulage to port was expected to begin within a week.

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