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Fortescue has released its December 2022 quarterly production results, with the company achieving record results.

“The Fortescue team delivered our highest ever December quarterly shipments of 49.4 million tonnes, our best ever half year, grew the mineral and green energy business globally, strengthened our balance sheet, kept costs low, all while maintaining our excellent safety performance,” Fortescue executive chairman Andrew Forrest said.

The company made strong progress on its iron ore interest in Gabon, its electrolyser facility in Gladstone, and its UK battery facility.

Cash flows from these projects have allowed for a strong reduction in debt.

Looking to the future, Forrest said Fortescue would have a strong interest in sustainability, citing talks at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

“Some 100 meetings at the World Economic Forum in Davos made clear to Fortescue the demand for green energy is immense,” he said.

“Green hydrogen gives the world energy storage potential of the massive scale of oil, gas and coal. Green electrons are already the world’s lowest cost energy and rely on batteries for firming capacity and energy mobility.

“Batteries are also  fundamental to the rapidly growing global hydrogen fuel cell industry and are therefore one of Fortescue’s preeminent focuses.”

The past 12 months have seen a number of exits at Fortescue’s senior level, including the January resignation of chief financial officer Ian Wells. But Forrest rejected suggestions of executive dysfunction at the major miner.

“As far as having high turnover, this was completely in the plan and we don’t consider it high turnover at all,” he said.

“When we’re filling positions with different skills, the same responsibility, we need people to retire move on, or change.

“People move on, they retire, or they were bad choices. That happens everywhere.”

Regardless, the senior staff turnover didn’t seem to hinder the company’s overall cash balance, which increased to $US4 billion.

“Demand for Fortescue’s suite of iron ore products remains strong and our entry into the higher-grade segment of the market has been well received, with significant interest in the Iron Bridge magnetite concentrate,” Forrest said.

“Despite this major asset growth, cash flows have allowed a strong reduction to our net debt, adding further weight to the existing strength of our balance sheet.”