Mining major BHP has reported a solid quarter of iron-ore and petroleum production, while coal production in the September quarter decreased.
“BHP has started the new financial year with a strong first quarter of safety and production performance. Group production rose 2% from a year ago driven by solid results in metallurgical coal and iron-ore, our major growth projects made good progress, and we secured more options in copper, nickel and oil,” said CEO Mike Henry .
“In Australia, Olympic Dam delivered its best quarterly production in the past five years and we are on track for first production from South Flank in the middle of the 2021 calendar year.”
Iron-ore production for the quarter ended September reached 66-million tonnes, down 1% on the June quarter production, with record quarterly production at Jimblebar and strong supply chain performance being offset by the impact from planned major car dumper maintenance.
Copper production remained stable during the quarter, at 413 000 t.
Metallurgical coal production declined by 17% on the previous quarter, to 10-million tonnes, with production impacted by significant planned wash plant maintenance activities.
Energy coal production for the September quarter was also down by 18%, to five-million tonnes, as higher strip ratio areas were mined during the quarter under review.
“In petroleum, BHP entered an agreement to increase its interest in the tier one Shenzi asset while delivering first production from Atlantis Phase 3 ahead of schedule and within budget,” Henry said on Tuesday.
Petroleum production during the September quarter was up 1% on the June quarter, to 27-million barrels of oil equivalent, driven by first production from the Atlantis Phase 3 operation and higher seasonal demand at Bass Strait, which was partially offset by lower volumes at Shenzi owing to planned maintenance, and the impact of Tropical Storm Laura in the Gulf of Mexico, and weather impacts at the North West Shelf.
Meanwhile, nickel production for the quarter declined by 7%, to 22 000 t, with lower production attributed to planned annual maintenance at the Kwinana refinery and the Kalgoorlie smelter.
BHP has maintained its full year production guidance at all of its operations, apart from the Cerrejon energy coal operation, where a review of the seven-million-tonne target for 2021 is under way owing to a strike which started at the end of August.