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AAP

2013-01-25

Iron ore miner Atlas Iron has maintained its production forecasts after a record second quarter.

The emerging Pilbara miner shipped 1.75 million tonnes of iron ore in the three months to December 31, up 10 per cent from the preceding three months.

Atlas said iron ore prices recovered during the December quarter to an average of $US106 per tonne, up from an average of $US98 per tonne in the September quarter.

The price rise was a result of improvements in China's economy and a boost in sentiment as a result of a change in government.

Prices have continued to rise significantly since the end of December, with one shipment selling for $US120 a tonne in January, Atlas said.

However, the high Australian dollar remains a dampener on earnings, it added.

The company is due to release its financial results for the six months to December on February 26.

Atlas expects its production to reach 10 million tonnes per annum by June 2013, and is targetting production of 12 million tonnes per annum by December.

Its cash operating costs in the December quarter were within its guidance of $US46 to $US50 per tonne, and Atlas says it expects costs over the full year to remain within that range.