BHP Billiton expects to see a more predictable level of demand in the global commodities market, but not a return to the strong levels that were seen last year, chief executive Marius Kloppers said yesterday in the company’s US 2009 Annual Report.
“The major economies are starting to rebuild their inventories in sequence, led by an early recovery in China and we may see a more predictable demand scenario for our products in the coming financial year,” he said.
“However, we do not expect a return to the same buoyant demand conditions that prevailed before the global financial crisis, or a return to record global growth rates within our forecasting horizon.”
Kloppers said that a reduction in China’s lending controls has led to an increase in construction, which will in turn see further increases in the country’s demand for mining products.
“We expect the resource intensive nature of Chinese growth to substantially drive global raw materials consumption,” he said.
BHP also announced that it has seen a boost in the total ore reserves at its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
According to the report, proven and probable ore reserves at the mine have increased to 589 million tonnes from 473 million tonnes at the same time a year ago.
The increases are in both copper and uranium, with a copper grade of 1.81% and a uranium grade of 0.59 kilograms per tonne, BHP said.
The total reserve consists of 188 million tonnes of proven ore, and 401 million tonnes of probable ore.