UPDATE 1-Australia's Fortescue says could exceed iron ore output target
* Fortescue sees flat Q3 iron ore shipments
* Says weather to determine final FY16 output
* Costs drop by 6 percent (Adds CEO comment, detail)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, April 13 (Reuters) - Australia's Fortescue Metals Group shipped a flat 42 million tonnes of iron ore in the March quarter, putting it on track to exceed its annual production target, while lowering cash costs by 6 percent from the previous quarter.
Chief Executive Nev Power said that marked the ninth consecutive quarterly fall in costs for the world's No.4 producer of the steelmaking raw ingredient, reducing average cash costs between Jan. 1 and March 31 to $14.79 per tonne.
"Our team has continued to innovate and deliver sustainable cost improvements generating strong cash margins," Power said in a statement on Wednesday.
Large-scale producers such as Fortescue have been battling to curb costs amid volatility in indexed prices, which have left some smaller miners operating at a loss.
Spot iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI. stood at $58.50 a tonne on Wednesday after starting the year at $43.10 a tonne. But it is still way below prices nearing $200 a tonne seen a few years ago, as a slowdown in China's economy saps growth in steel demand. Continuación...