BHP Billiton boosts Australian iron ore production

SYDNEY: BHP Billiton Wednesday reported a rise in September quarter iron ore production as the mining giant vowed to continue reducing costs amid depressed prices from a global supply glut.

The world’s biggest miner reported a 17 percent increase in iron ore production to 57.1 million tonnes in the three months to September compared to the previous year.

“Robust operating performance across our diversified portfolio in the September 2014 quarter delivered a 9.0 percent increase in production with records achieved for eight operations and four commodities,” BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said.

“With production guidance maintained across all operations and businesses, we remain on track to generate group production growth of 16 percent over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year.”

BHP said its Western Australian iron ore production guidance for the 2015 financial year remained unchanged at 245 million tonnes.

The miner reported a 25 percent rise in coking coal production to 12.8 million tonnes compared with the previous September quarter, while total petroleum output jumped by 7.0 percent to 67.4 million barrels of oil.

Copper production slipped by 3 percent to 389,400 tonnes as industrial action, a power outage in northern Chile and declining ore grades hurt output.

BHP vowed to maintain its “relentless focus on costs”, as the firm said it no longer had any major iron ore projects in Western Australia in the pipeline.

“With our focus now on maximising the value of existing infrastructure, we plan to reduce costs and invest judiciously in very low capital cost debottlenecking initiatives,” Mackenzie said.

Source: APP