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BHP continues to leverage the strength of its copper business, recording a 10 per cent increase in copper production across its assets.

The copper high was driven by record production at BHP’s Spence site in Chile, strong operational performance at Copper South Australia and improved performance at Escondida.

“We remain on track to meet copper, iron ore and energy coal production for the year,” BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said. “Western Australia Iron Ore, the lowest cost iron ore producer globally, delivered another consistent period of production despite heavy rainfall.

“We continue to invest in improvements to our rail and port operations, which are essential for growth in the medium term to 305 million tonnes per annum and beyond.”

The first quarter of 2024 saw BHP complete the divestment of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Blackwater and Daunia mines in Queensland to Whitehaven Coal for a total cash consideration of up to $US4.1 billion.

While BHP’s other Queensland coal operations were impacted by the rain, Henry remains hopeful.

“At our BMA metallurgical coal operations in Queensland, significant wet weather including the impact of two tropical cyclones and operational challenges impacted production and unit costs, and we have revised guidance for the year,” Henry said.

“In Canada, the Jansen Stage 1 project remains ahead of its initial schedule and is now 44 per cent complete. In Western Australia, we expect to announce a decision on the future of our nickel business in the coming months, where efforts to optimise operations and preserve value are underway.”