BHP Billiton stays on track for 2013 despite the bad weather

Suzie Neuwirth
AUSTRALIA headquartered mining company BHP Billiton yesterday announced that it maintained the bulk of its production guidance this quarter, although adverse weather conditions impacted some of its key commodities.

The FTSE 100-listed firm said that iron ore in Western Australia was down five per cent quarter-on-quarter following a cyclone in the region.

Coal production was also impacted by adverse weather conditions, this time on the east coast of Australia, with energy coal output down 15 per cent from the previous quarter.

Metallurgical coal only dropped one per cent, but BHP Billiton said that this was due to recently installed flood mitigation infrastructure.

Meanwhile, copper rose four per cent, lead increased six per cent and zinc 15 per cent quarter on quarter.

“Given current concerns over economic growth, especially in China, the sector has been weak,” said broker Killik & Co. “However, management’s production guidance for iron ore, copper and petroleum – the key drivers of group operating profit – is encouraging.”

A strategic update for the mining titan is expected after Andrew Mackenzie, current head of the non-ferrous operations, takes over as group CEO next month.