BHP sets iron ore record as prices surge

Western Australia Iron Ore. Image: BHP

BHP has capitalised on a 35 per cent increase in prices for its iron ore mined in the Pilbara by delivering a production record for the second half of 2020.

The company produced 128.4 million tonnes of iron ore (145 million tonnes on a 100 per cent basis), marking a 6 per cent production increase from the corresponding six-month period.

Record production was also seen at the Jimblebar mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which produced 36,815 tonnes of iron ore in December 2020 (year to date).

BHP increased its copper production at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia by 16 per cent to 99,100 tonnes.

Guidance at Olympic Dam for the 2021 financial year sits between 180,000 and 205,000 tonnes.

BHP also achieved record concentrator throughput of 386,000 tonnes per day at the Escondida copper mine in Chile.

BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said the company was well positioned to further improve its value as the global economy begins to bounce back from COVID-19.

“BHP delivered strong safety and operational performance in the first half of the 2021 financial year, including record production at Western Australia Iron Ore and concentrator throughput at Escondida,” he said.

BHP’s energy coal guidance was reduced to between 21 and 23 million tonnes due to a 91-day strike at the Cerrejón coal mine in Columbia and significant wet weather events lowering its Queensland Coal volumes.

The company produced 19.2 million tonnes of metallurgical coal in the first half of the 2021 financial year, up 5 per cent from the corresponding period.

“Coal production was impacted by wet weather in Australia and strike action in Colombia. Our major development projects in iron ore, petroleum and potash are progressing well,” Henry said.

“We continue to build on our strong foundations, increasing future-facing options in copper and nickel through exploration, partnerships and acquisitions. We are well positioned to sustainably grow shareholder and social value as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.”

BHP’s South Flank mine is also on track for a production start in mid-2021.

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