BHP reveals impact of Olympic Dam disruption

Image: BHP

BHP is reducing its 2019 copper guidance by 3 per cent following outages at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia and Spence operation in Chile.

The company, which today released its September quarter operational report, posted a 1 per cent rise in copper production compared to the same period in 2017 and a 2 per cent rise over the previous quarter, despite lowering its 2019 guidance.

BHP’s rise in copper output was largely due to strong performance at Escondida in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine.

Its results were, however, offset by a fire and planned maintenance at the Spence mine and an acid plant outage at Olympic Dam.

The revised copper guidance for 2019 stands at 1.62Mt–1.705Mt.

BHP’s iron ore production dipped by 3 per cent from the previous quarter to 61Mt, but performed well year-on-year for BHP with 10 per cent growth.

As such, its iron ore guidance for 2019 remains unchanged at 241–250Mt.

Chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said the company was on track to meet guidance across all commodities except copper.

“We delivered a 2 per cent increase in copper equivalent production despite maintenance at a number of our operations,” he said.

The CEO also cited the success of the company’s petroleum dealings.

“In petroleum, we have extended our exploration success and encountered hydrocarbons in three wells,” he said.

“The onshore US sale process [of Fayetteville] is progressing to plan and is expected to be completed by the end of October 2018.”

BHP has five major projects in development with a combined budget of $US10.6 billion ($14.8 billion). The company spent $US40 million on minerals exploration and $US133 million on petroleum exploration in the quarter.

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