BHP sets up copper future to meet demand

The Spence operation in Chile. Image: BHP.

BHP has confirmed the world’s positive attitude to environmental sustainability as its copper growth continued to gain momentum.

Not only did the mining megalith increase its copper guidance for the 2021 financial year by 1.2 per cent to 1.535-1.66 million tonnes per year, but unit costs at the Escondida copper operation in Chile have also been reduced.

BHP delivered 1.2 million tonnes of copper during the nine months ended March this year, a 6 per cent increase from the prior corresponding period.

Earlier this April, BHP president of minerals for the Americas Ragnar Udd expressed his optimism for global decarbonisation and said copper demand would double over the next 30 years.

Unlike copper, however, production guidances for petroleum and iron ore remained unchanged yet are on track to be achieved.

BHP produced 188 million tonnes of iron ore despite lower volumes from its Western Australian operations due to weather impacts and planned maintenance.

“BHP’s strong safety and operational performance continued during the quarter, with record year-to-date production at Western Australia Iron Ore, the Goonyella Riverside metallurgical coal mine in Queensland and concentrator throughput at Escondida in Chile,” BHP chief executive Mike Henry said.

“We are reliably executing our major projects, bringing on new supply in copper, petroleum and iron ore.”

BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said the company would continue to invest in sustainable practices.

The company now has eco-friendly partnerships with some of the largest steelmakers in Asia. It has trialled marine biofuel and entered several renewable energy plans with its operations around Australia.

“BHP continues to deliver on decarbonising, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. We have established emissions reduction partnerships with three major steelmakers in China and Japan whose combined output equates to around 10 per cent of global steel production,” Henry said.

“In shipping, we have successfully completed an initial trial of marine biofuels, in addition to the tender awarded last year for LNG-powered iron ore vessels.

“In our own operations, we have established significant renewable power supply agreements for our Kwinana nickel refinery, Queensland Coal operations, and Escondida and Spence copper mines.”

Production records continued to spread across BHP’s empire, in Australia and abroad, according to the company’s nine-monthly report.

“With our focus on keeping our people safe, costs down and productivity up, we are well positioned to finish the year strongly and continue delivering the essential products the world needs,” Henry said.

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