BHP posts 5% jump in second-quarter iron ore output

BHP’s South Flank project. (Credit: BHP)

BHP Group on Wednesday reported a 5% rise in iron ore production for the second quarter, driven by strong performance at its Jimblebar mine and ramped up production at South Flank in Western Australia.

The company produced its first iron ore in May last year at the $3.6-billion South Flank project in Western Australia, which is expected to eventually churn out 80 million tonnes (Mt) a year. Along with the Mining Area C, it will form the largest operating iron ore hub in the world and produce 145 Mt a year.

BHP, which is trying to offload some thermal coal assets, said metallurgical coal output fell 7% to 8 Mt in the December quarter, and reduced the annual forecast for the commodity to between 38 Mt and 41 Mt due to wet weather impact during the quarter along with COVID-19 related labour constraints.

Iron ore production from Western Australia was 73.9 Mt in the three months ended December, up from 70.4 Mt a year ago, the miner said.

BHP, the world’s largest miner, is also investing more in “future-facing commodities” as it divests its petroleum arm to Woodside Petroleum and targets more opportunities in nickel, a key component in the production of electric-vehicle batteries.

Shareholders of the global miner are set to vote on Thursday on whether to unify its structure, bringing its dual-listing in London within a single Australian-listed company.

Rio Tinto on Tuesday forecast slightly weaker-than-expected 2022 iron ore shipments, citing tight labour market conditions and production delays from the new greenfields mine at Gudai-Darri project.

(By Indranil Sarkar and Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)


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