BHP, Evolution remain upbeat despite COVID challenges


BHP and Evolution Mining have managed respective hurdles with inclement weather and COVID during the March quarter, but full-year targets remain largely optimistic.

BHP benefitted from its multinational operational structure, as lower copper production at Escondida in Chile was offset by higher volumes from Olympic Dam in South Australia.

Similarly, COVID-related labour constraints caused lower volumes from BHP’s WA Iron Ore (WAIO) business which was again offset by record production from Mining Area C.

BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said his Australian operations were largely working to schedule, despite the conditions.

“Our WA iron ore business continues to perform strongly as we navigate the state’s first major COVID-19 wave, and we remain on track to achieve full year volume and cost guidance,” he said.

“Amid record high prices, our Queensland metallurgical coal business delivered strong underlying performance and benefitted from better weather in the quarter.”

Compared with the December quarter, production of copper (up 1 per cent) and metallurgical coal (20 per cent) were stronger, while iron ore (down 10 per cent) and energy coal (13 per cent) decreased.

At Evolution Mining, the gold miner saw 25 per cent of its workforce at Cowal gold mine in New South Wales test positive to COVID-19 during the March quarter.

This coincided with heavy rainfall early in the year which slowed progress and resulted in gold production of 53,321 ounces from Cowal to start 2022.

This was a decrease of almost 12 per cent compared to the December quarter, while Group gold production increased by less than half a per cent to 148,787 ounces.

The Mt Rawdon gold mine in Queensland also experienced extreme weather as Australia’s east coast battled harsh floods, which restricted access to ore in the pit.

As a result, Evolution has reduced its Group gold production target for the 2022 financial year to 650,000 ounces down from 670,000.

Send this to a friend