Australia's Fortescue says pays off more debt early

A driver inspects an earth mover at Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s Cloudbreak iron ore operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, on Monday, July 25, 2011
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A driver inspects an earth mover at Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s Cloudbreak iron ore operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, on Monday, July 25, 2011

Australia's Fortescue Metals Group said on Wednesday it has made further headway in paying down some $12 billion in debt it amassed building the world's fourth-biggest iron ore mining company over the past decade.

Fortescue said it plans to redeem $500 million of senior unsecured notes in October. It did not give a figure for net debt, but said earlier this month that net debt stood then at $7.2 billion after it repaid $3.1 billion in fiscal 2014.

The company said it intends to repay an additional $500 million to $1 billion during fiscal 2015, subject to iron ore prices and other market factors.

Australia's third-biggest iron ore miner by volume reported a net profit of $2.73 billion in the year through June as rising production from the Pilbara region of Western Australia state offset a recent steep fall in iron-ore prices.

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Fortescue is one of a small number of mega miners flooding the sea-traded market with cheaply produced iron ore in a bid to knock out competitors.

The miner is maintaining production above its target rates as it vies to capture more of China's 1 billion-tonne-per-year market for the steel-making ingredient.