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BHP has achieved record iron ore production of 146 Mt for the half year.

BHP has achieved record iron ore production of 146 million tonnes for the second half of 2022.

In the company’s operational review for the half year ended December 31 2022, the major miner cited “strong supply chain performance, supported by the ongoing ramp-up at South Flank”.

The record iron ore production was achieved despite the South Flank mine not yet producing at full capacity.

The company also announced it has been fatality-free at its operated assets for the fourth consecutive year.

“BHP delivered safe and reliable operating performance in the first half of the 2023 financial year,” BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said.

“Employees and contractors across BHP continued to prioritise safety, resulting in the fourth consecutive year without a fatality.”

Copper production at the miner’s South American Escondida mine also rose, despite road blockages in Chile in the December quarter.

The ongoing smelter performance at Olympic Dam in South Australia saw near-record material processing and record gold production.

While Queensland coal production was affected by the heavy rainfall experienced across the state, December 2022 saw coal overtake iron ore as Australia’s top export earner.

The market for coal is set to be further boosted by increased demand from China.

“BHP believes China will be a stabilising force when it comes to commodity demand in the 2023 calendar year, with OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations experiencing economic headwinds,” Henry said.

“China’s pro-growth policies, including in the property sector and an easing of COVID-19 restrictions are expected to support progressive improvement from the difficult economic conditions of the first half.

“China is expected to achieve its fifth straight year of over one billion tonnes of steel production.”

The reported quarter also saw BHP finalise its acquisition of of OZ Minerals with a takeover deal of $9.6 billion.

Henry said this deal helped BHP to “shape our portfolio toward future facing commodities and reduce our operational emissions”.