BHP Billiton’s iron ore output beats forecasts

Suzie Neuwirth
FTSE 100-listed BHP Billiton yesterday said that production at two of its mines had beaten guidance this year and expansion of its iron ore division is running ahead of schedule.

Yet despite petroleum output increasing by six per cent to 235.8m barrels of oil, it fell short of BHP’s 240m guidance.

Total iron ore production increased by seven per cent to 170m tonnes in the 2013 financial year, while copper increased by 10 per cent to 1.2m tonnes, the miner said.

Production from BHP Billiton’s iron ore expansion project – the Jimblebar Mine Expansion – has now been brought forward to the December 2013 quarter.

“All up, more positive than negative and on first pass we see little downside risk to our full year forecasts,” said broker Investec in a note. “[The company] has not provided any market commentary while the limited production guidance for full-year 2014 appears to fall in line with our expectations.” Shares closed two per cent higher.

Rio Tinto yesterday announced record iron production in the first half, the mining giants defying a drop-off in demand from China and a dwindling iron ore price. Analysts have suggested that the firms are mining more for less in order to maximise economies of scale and squeeze out smaller competitors.